Chicago Public School Teachers and Staff Must Be Vaccinated by October 15 or Stay Home

Maia Spoto, Chalkbeat Chicago:

School-based teachers and staff, central office, regular vendors and network employees who aren’t fully vaccinated or can’t provide documentation of an exemption by the deadline will be ineligible to work for the district until they submit proof of inoculation or exemption.

Until the Oct. 15 cutoff, staff who aren’t vaccinated will be required to take a COVID-19 test at least once a week, the district said. As of August, 68 percent of district employees have been fully vaccinated, according to self-reported district data. Among teachers, that rate is higher, with 82 percent reporting that they are fully vaccinated.

More like this, please.

Om Malik Interviews Glass Co-Founder Tom Watson

More on the thinking behind Glass:

Om: Tom, tell us a bit about yourself and what prompted you to start Glass.

Tom Watson: I’ve been designing digital products for over 20 years now. I was an early Product Designer at Facebook (2009-2013) and Pinterest (2013-2018). I saw the tradeoffs firsthand around having to design for engagement versus people using the product. That experience made me want to build something different. […]

We intentionally didn’t raise venture capital. We didn’t want to make the compromises that I saw earlier in my career. With no outside capital and subscriptions, we’re able to forgo advertising, engagement algorithms, pivots to video, and several other things we feel would compromise the product and community we’re trying to build.

Om: Who are you focused on as a primary customer — a professional photographer? A pro-am photographer? Or amateurs?

TW: It’s for photographers — amateur or professional. That can be anything from someone just starting with their iPhone or someone with tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. We believe great photography can come from anywhere and anyone. We hope to build a community for all levels of photographers to learn, grow, and generally nerd out about photography.


Glass is a new photo sharing app/community:

We want you to adore Glass, not become addicted to it. We’ve created a distraction-free app focused on one thing — your photos. […] All the social network features you’d expect with none of the dark patterns driving engagement. Build relationships with and learn from other photographers while enjoying a chronological feed and no public counts. […]

Glass is subscription-based, which means we won’t sell your data or pollute your feed with ads. We don’t answer to outside investors or advertisers, just members of our community.

$4.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly $29.99 yearly (at launch) keeps Glass rolling.

Is it just like OG Instagram? No. Glass is doing its own thing in a bunch of subtle ways. But it’s certainly a lot more like Instagram circa 2010 than Instagram is today. In spirit, it feels a lot like the early days of Flickr. I’ve been beta testing Glass for a few months and it’s an absolutely lovely, exquisitely-designed app. It’s downright serene scrolling through my Glass timeline, something that I haven’t been able to say about Instagram in many years.

Currently iOS only — in fact, I believe the only way to sign in is through Sign In With Apple. There’s a wait list to get in now that they’re out of beta; if Glass intrigues you, I encourage you to sign up now.

Joanna Stern Interviews Craig Federighi Regarding Apple’s Controversial New Child Safety Features

Clarifying interview, with at least one bit of news: Federighi says the heretofore unspecified “threshold” for CSAM fingerprint matches that must be reached before an iCloud account is flagged (or even can be flagged, thanks to how the shared-key cryptography is implemented) is “on the order of 30 known child pornographic images”. Right around the 3:00 mark:

“And if, and only if you meet a threshold of something on the order of 30 known child pornographic images matching, only then does Apple know anything about your account and know anything about those images.”

There’s also a WSJ news story (News+ link), co-bylined by Stern and Tim Higgins, in which Federighi emphasizes that the database of CSAM fingerprints is auditable:

Beyond creating a system that isn’t scanning through all of a user’s photos in the cloud, Mr. Federighi pointed to another benefit of placing the matching process on the phone directly. “Because it’s on the [phone], security researchers are constantly able to introspect what’s happening in Apple’s [phone] software,” he said. “So if any changes were made that were to expand the scope of this in some way — in a way that we had committed to not doing — there’s verifiability, they can spot that that’s happening.”

Critics have said the database of images could be corrupted, such as political material being inserted. Apple has pushed back against that idea. During the interview, Mr. Federighi said the database of images is constructed through the intersection of images from multiple child-safety organizations — not just the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He added that at least two “are in distinct jurisdictions.” Such groups and an independent auditor will be able to verify that the database consists only of images provided by those entities, he said.


August 2021 cover art for Dithering, depicting Yankees legend Babe Ruth fishing.

Good episode of Dithering this morning, with Ben Thompson and yours truly arguing about the privacy of Apple’s upcoming CSAM detection for iCloud Photos and the new “Open App Markets Act” App Store legislation in the U.S. Senate.

Best $5/month you’ll ever spend, trust me.

Supreme Court Allows Indiana University to Mandate Vaccination

Adam Liptak, reporting for The New York Times:

Eight students had sued the university, saying the requirement violated their constitutional rights to “bodily integrity, autonomy and medical choice.” But they conceded that exemptions to the requirement — for religious, ethical and medical reasons — “virtually guaranteed” that anyone who sought an exemption would be granted one.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who oversees the federal appeals court in question, turned down the student’s request for emergency relief without comment. She acted on her own, without referring the application to the full court, which was an indication that the application was not on solid legal footing.

More like this, please.

San Francisco Announces Strict Indoor Vaccine Mandate

The New York Times:

San Francisco leaders on Thursday unveiled some of the nation’s toughest restrictions on unvaccinated people, barring them from indoor dining, bars, nightclubs, gyms, large concerts, theaters and other events held inside. The new rules, which take effect on Aug. 20, would apply even to people who can show they have tested negative for the coronavirus.

“This is an important step towards our recovery,” Mayor London Breed said during a briefing announcing the new requirements. “We all have to do our part. We need to get vaccinated.”

More like this, please.

Philadelphia re-instituted an indoor mask mandate starting today; I hope we follow New York and San Fran with a full-on “vaccinated or stay the fuck home” mandate.

The U.S.’s Deep Partisan Divide on COVID Vaccinations

The Hill, reporting on a new Fox News poll:

32 percent of Trump voters say they have no plans to receive one of the three coronavirus vaccines available in the U.S., compared to only 3 percent of Biden voters, the poll found.

86 percent of Biden voters say they’ve already been vaccinated, while 54 percent of Trump voters said the same.

The Republican Party is a death cult. There’s no other way to put it.

And the one person who could most affect this — a man who himself was vaccinated as soon as possible — refuses to say a word.

U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Levels by County Over Time

Charles Gaba:

One thing I’ve been noting is that the R-squared (coefficient of determination) for the graphs at both the state & county levels seems to have been inching up higher over the past month or two … that is, the outlier counties seem to be gradually moving closer to the graph’s trend line.

Furthermore, the slope of the trend line seemed to be moving upwards as well over time. Both of these mean that not only is there a clear correlation between a county’s 2020 partisan lean and how quickly their residents are getting vaccinated, that correlation is only increasing over time.

I decided to check to see whether this was an anomaly (just a temporary thing) or not by going back to the county-level vaccination data all the way back to February 1st, 2021. At that point supplies of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were ramping up, but getting vaccinated was still limited mostly to senior citizens 65 and older in the United States.

The whole series of charts is telling, but the last one — the animated one that shows how the partisan divide is increasing over time — is startling. The vaccinated aren’t going to forget this.

Matthew Panzarino Interviews Erik Neuenschwander, Apple’s Chief Privacy Engineer

Terrific interview — great questions, asked in the right order:

Panzarino: One of the bigger queries about this system is that Apple has said that it will just refuse action if it is asked by a government or other agency to compromise by adding things that are not CSAM to the database to check for them on-device. There are some examples where Apple has had to comply with local law at the highest levels if it wants to operate there, China being an example. So how do we trust that Apple is going to hew to this rejection of interference if pressured or asked by a government to compromise the system?

Neuenschwander: Well first, that is launching only for U.S., iCloud accounts, and so the hypotheticals seem to bring up generic countries or other countries that aren’t the U.S. when they speak in that way, and therefore it seems to be the case that people agree U.S. law doesn’t offer these kinds of capabilities to our government.

But even in the case where we’re talking about some attempt to change the system, it has a number of protections built in that make it not very useful for trying to identify individuals holding specifically objectionable images. The hash list is built into the operating system, we have one global operating system and don’t have the ability to target updates to individual users and so hash lists will be shared by all users when the system is enabled. And secondly, the system requires the threshold of images to be exceeded so trying to seek out even a single image from a person’s device or set of people’s devices won’t work because the system simply does not provide any knowledge to Apple for single photos stored in our service. And then, thirdly, the system has built into it a stage of manual review where, if an account is flagged with a collection of illegal CSAM material, an Apple team will review that to make sure that it is a correct match of illegal CSAM material prior to making any referral to any external entity. And so the hypothetical requires jumping over a lot of hoops, including having Apple change its internal process to refer material that is not illegal, like known CSAM and that we don’t believe that there’s a basis on which people will be able to make that request in the U.S. And the last point that I would just add is that it does still preserve user choice, if a user does not like this kind of functionality, they can choose not to use iCloud Photos and if iCloud Photos is not enabled no part of the system is functional.

Neuenschwander also confirms that if you’re not using iCloud Photos, none of the system operates:

If users are not using iCloud Photos, NeuralHash will not run and will not generate any vouchers. CSAM detection is a neural hash being compared against a database of the known CSAM hashes that are part of the operating system image. None of that piece, nor any of the additional parts including the creation of the safety vouchers or the uploading of vouchers to iCloud Photos, is functioning if you’re not using iCloud Photos.