The so-called “extreme vetting” of visa applicants may include the mandatory disclosure of social media passwords and ideological tests for foreigners wishing to enter the U.S. President Trump embraces Egyptian ruler el-Sisi as doing a “fantastic job” amidst jailing of dissenters, torture, and arrests of journalists and artists.‎ Trump completes his dismantling of Internet privacy rules, paving the way for broadband companies to buy and sell personal consumer data. Gorsuch’s nomination is voted out of Committee on partisan lines as a showdown brews as Democrats say they have the votes to filibuster and Republicans say they’ll go “nuclear” changing the rules to allow his confirmation with a simple majority vote.
-Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director

DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

PEN America’s take on today’s most pressing threats to free expression


Trump administration considers far-reaching steps for ‘extreme vetting’
Foreigners who want to visit the U.S., even for a short trip, could be forced to disclose contacts on their mobile phones, social media passwords, and financial records, and to answer probing questions about their ideology, according to Trump administration officials conducting a review of vetting procedures.

Trump signs internet privacy repeal
Trump signed a bill on Monday repealing internet privacy rules passed last year that would have given internet users greater control over what providers can do with their data. The regulations would have required broadband companies to get customer permission in order to use their “sensitive” data to create targeted advertisements.

Democrats’ vow to filibuster ensures bitter fight over Gorsuch
Senate Democrats on Monday secured the votes necessary to filibuster the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, presaging a bitter confrontation this week that threatens to further unravel a chamber where bipartisanship and decorum have eroded for years.

In New York City, local coverage declines—and takes accountability with it
The remaining New York City-based daily newspapers have long since receded from covering news at the local level, and now their retreat is visible now within the city itself, in Queens – a county of 2.3 million with no courts-based reporters. This shift is symptomatic of a larger shrinkage in newspapers’ local coverage across the country.

Why can’t Silicon Valley fix online harassment?
A majority of social-media platforms don’t want to be crucified with claims of censorship for regulating what people can say online. And Silicon Valley tends to be ruled by a libertarian viewpoint — the notion that the less regulation and political interference in technology, the better.


Trump shifts course on Egypt, praising its authoritarian leader
Ever since he seized power in a military takeover nearly four years ago, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt has been barred from the White House. But President Trump made clear on Monday that the period of ostracism was over as he hosted Mr. Sisi and pledged unstinting support for the autocratic ruler.

German diplomat allowed to visit detained journalist Yucel in Turkey
German Consul General Georg Birgelen has been allowed a one-off visit with Deniz Yucel – the first diplomatic visit since the “Welt” newspaper correspondent was detained in mid-February on terror propaganda charges.

China to roll out new internet censorship tools nationwide
New rules banning the use of tools to get around internet censorship could soon be rolled out nationwide in China. Individuals and companies that use tools like virtual private networks (VPNs) to circumvent the complex array of censorship that limits what Chinese internet users can see online will be ordered to disconnect.

A Brazilian judge demands a blogger’s sources, testing limits of media freedom
A Brazilian blogger has found himself embroiled in a legal case concerning his writings about a corruption scandal that involved dozens of politicians and tycoons. Authorities attempted to force the blogger to reveal his sources, despite the fact that Brazil’s constitution protects journalists from revealing the identity of their sources.

How Russian Twitter bots pumped out fake news during the 2016 election
When he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, former FBI agent Clint Watts described how Russians used armies of Twitter bots to spread fake news using accounts that seem to be Midwestern swing-voter Republicans.

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