WeeklyTech #107

Why Christians should navigate questions of vaccine mandates and religious exemptions with wisdom

Between the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in winter 2019 and the subsequent worldwide pandemic that has killed over 4.4 million, the astounding speed at which treatments and vaccines for this deadly virus have been developed is nothing short of miraculous. This speed is due in large part to the concerted and concentrated efforts by governments, medical providers, researchers, local communities, and pharmaceutical companies around the world. In the United States, Operation Warp Speed and other major government interventions have propelled the rapid, yet safe development of these life-saving vaccines as well as the incredible free and open distribution to all those eligible.

While some have raised specific concerns about the safety, timeline, or even the processes used in their creation, the evidence is clear that these vaccines are safe and effective. This was seen most recently in the announcement from the Food and Drug Administration in the United States which gave the first full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. Many of the pressing concerns and ethical quandaries have been addressed by medical professionals, as well as Christian ethicists, who support their use and wide distribution throughout society.

The Rundown

OnlyFans suspends plan to ban sexually explicit content after outcry – Ivana Saric | Axios

OnlyFans, an online creator platform known for its adult content, announced via Twitter Wednesday that it has dropped plans to ban sexually explicit content on its platform in October.

Hackers are trying to topple Belarus’s dictator, with help from the inside – Patrick Howell O’Neill | MIT Technology Review

Since becoming president of Belarus in 1994, Alexander Lukashenko has built Europe’s most repressive police state and ruthlessly used his power to stay in office as a dictator. 

Now hackers are trying to turn the extensive surveillance state against Lukashenko to end his reign—and to do it, they claim to have pulled off one of the most comprehensive hacks of a country in history.

Libidinal Liberalism: Does banning bad behavior just make it worse? – Oliver Traldi | The New Atlantis

People should be free to do as they choose, so long as they do not harm anyone else. This is the guiding principle of classical liberalism. But of course, it is really two principles, which are in tension. There is endless debate over where to draw the line between choices that should be freely permitted and choices that do too much harm to be allowed.

US government agencies plan to increase their use of facial recognition technology – Tate Ryan-Mosley | MIT Technology Review

90-page report published by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) details how federal agencies currently use, and plan to expand their use of, facial recognition systems. Ten of 24 agencies surveyed plan to broaden their use of the technology by 2023. Ten agencies are also investing in research and development for the technology.

The Cancel Culture Paradox – David French | The Dispatch

Presently, the law of free speech is at odds with the culture. Over time, however, the law of free speech will merge with the culture, and unless we can reverse the cultural momentum against free expression, then the law will grow more restrictive.