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Technology 15 February 2021

The Week in Internet News: No Internet, No Vaccine

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Unhealthy access: People lacking Internet access in the U.S., including some racial minorities, may be missing out on COVID-19 vaccines, The Conversation suggests. Signing up for the vaccine in the U.S. has largely happened online, meaning fewer seniors from underserved minority communities have been able to make appointments. In addition, people without Internet access have missed out on other health resources during the pandemic, as the use of telehealth services has skyrocketed during the pandemic.

Permission to be social: Mexican Senator Ricardo Monreal has proposed regulations for social media companies that would require them to “request authorization” from the country’s telecom regulator in order to continue operating in the country, Reuters reports. The Latin American Internet Association is protesting against the proposal, saying it would violate the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and create unjustified trade barriers.

No sale: U.S. President Joe Biden has paused the proposed sale of TikTok from Chinese owner ByteDance to Oracle and Walmart after former President Donald Trump raised security concerns about the app, NPR reports. Trump had threated to ban the video sharing app unless it was sold, but the Biden administration will undertake “a wide-ranging probe into how Chinese-owned technology companies could potentially pose a risk to Americans’ privacy and data security.”

Paying for news: Microsoft is backing an Australian proposal that would require social networks, search engines, and other tech services to pay for the news they point to, The Hill reports. Microsoft has urged the U.S. to adopt a similar regulation. “The United States should not object to a creative Australian proposal that strengthens democracy by requiring tech companies to support a free press. It should copy it instead,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a blog post

Here, kitty, kitty: The age of the Zoom meeting comes with lots of potential problems. Texas lawyer Rod Ponton accidentally had a kitten filter on his face when he logged into a recent online court hearing, the Independent observes. As Ponton struggled to remove the filter, he told the judge that he was, indeed, human. “I’m here live, I’m not a cat.”

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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