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Legislation introduced in Congress to challenge EPA’s proposed rule changes that would narrow freedom of information access brings together bipartisan legislators in bid to protect public access to government information. Facebook advertising library created to bolster platform’s transparency and combat spread of disinformation proves difficult for users to use and find political ads. (See PEN America’s report Truth on the Ballot, which addresses this very proposal and other ways platforms may work to prevent the spread of disinformation online.) Facial recognition algorithms more likely to mix up black women’s faces than white and male counterparts as various jurisdictions grapple with proper use of the technology. -Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs

The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today


Bipartisan Senators Introduce Bill to Challenge New EPA Policy and Supreme Court Ruling on FOIA
Senators from both sides of the aisle are backing a bill to strengthen the public’s ability to obtain government records, seeking to counteract recent changes that make it easier for the Trump Administration to withhold information.

Ad Tool Facebook Built to Fight Disinformation Doesn’t Work as Advertised
While ordinary users can look up individual ads without a problem, access to the library’s data is so plagued by bugs and technical constraints that it is effectively useless as a way to comprehensively track political advertising, according to studies.

The Best Algorithms Struggle to Recognize Black Faces Equally
French company Idemia’s facial recognition software scans faces by the million. But test results from the National Institute of Standards and Technology indicated that two of Idemia’s latest algorithms were significantly more likely to mix up black women’s faces than those of white women, or black or white men.

Trump’s Lies Are Getting Bolder and the Press Is Stuck in the Middle
“Old-fashioned tenets of the news business fade away in this fog of disinformation. For example: ‘What the president says is news.’ I still think that’s true, but when he’s telling you not to believe your own eyes and ears, is it really news?”


‘The Era of People Like You Is Over’: How Turkey Purged Its Intellectuals
An authoritarian state can do many things to get rid of these democratic types—put them in jail, put them on trial—but ultimately the government must attack the institutions that produce and sustain them. Newspapers can be easy to buy. NGOs are easy to shut down. Universities are much harder to dismantle.

French Journalists’ Bail Conditions after Adani Arrest Labelled ‘Abuse of Police Power’
Bail conditions imposed on four French journalists–banning them from reporting near Adani’s Carmichael mine site–are an “abuse of police power” and “entirely inappropriate,” said the head of the Queensland Council of Civil Liberties.

Six Films to Watch to Understand What’s Happening in Hong Kong
Themes such as social inequality, Hong Kong-China relations, and gang violence that have long been central to the city’s movies are now erupting and coming to a head, as what began as a resistance movement over a single issue has now evolved to encompass a host of deep-rooted problems in Hong Kong.

Pakistan Planning to Set Up Courts to Address Issues of Media Industry, Says Official
Pakistan is planning to set up media courts in the country to promptly address the issues of the media industry. Firdous Ashiq Awan, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan for Information and Broadcasting, said she met representatives of Pakistan Broadcaster Association and has discussed the issue.

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