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City of Oakland, CA, approves ordinance banning municipal use of facial recognition technology; concurrently, the U.S. House of Representatives passes bipartisan amendment requiring the government to report use of face recognition technology, and its possible impact on First Amendment rights. East Carolina university allowed Trump to speak on campus, amid First Amendment concerns that its refusal could have prompted. Philadelphia faces new lawsuit against local officials in First Amendment case challenging courtroom bans on recording audio. All white jury finds heckler who wore gorilla mask and carried bananas wrapped in rope at a Black Lives Matter rally not guilty of felony charges. -Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs

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


Oakland Approves Face Recognition Surveillance Ban
Oakland joins Somerville, MA, and San Francisco, CA, which passed similar bans. At the same time, the House of Representatives passed an amendment requiring the government to report the use of such technology, and affirming members’ belief that it should not be sold to governments that will use it to violate human rights.

Why Did East Carolina Allow Trump to Speak? the University Probably Didn’t Have a Choice
Under the First Amendment, public universities “can’t not allow facilities to be available to people on equal terms, and certainly not for content-based reasons,” said Joe Cohn from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. If East Carolina had denied the campaign’s request, Trump could have sued, he explained.

Philly Ban on Courtroom Recording Violates First Amendment, Suit Says
While the recording ban affects all court activity within the city’s First Judicial District, the lawsuit focuses on magisterial bail hearings―a source of controversy for criminal justice advocates. No stenographer is present at these relatively minor proceedings, and although the public can observe them, they’re not allowed to record it.

A Student Who Wore a Gorilla Mask to a Black Lives Matter Rally Was Racist. But Was He Breaking the Law?
During the two-day trial, prosecutors had sought to prove that the student’s actions intimidated the Black Lives Matters protesters and violated their civil rights. But the defense successfully argued that Tristan Rettke was merely a heckler who had been exercising his right to free speech.

Jeff Adachi Case: Judge Quashes SFPD Warrant Used to Search Journalist’s Phone
A judge quashed a search warrant used by San Francisco police to search journalist Bryan Carmody’s phone in what was part of a controversial investigation into the leak of a police report on the death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi.
*See PEN America’s amicus letter filed in support of Bryan Carmody


Ukraine’s President Says He Backs Prisoner Swap with Russia *PEN Case List: Learn More
Ukraine’s president said in televised comments that Ukraine could release journalist Kirill Vyshinskiy, who has been in jail for a year on treason charges, if Russia releases film director Oleg Sentsov from a Russian prison colony. Sentsov is serving 20 years in a Russian prison for allegedly plotting acts of terrorism.

Yang Hengjun: Australian Writer Detained in China Expected to Be Charged, Lawyer Says
Australian writer Yang Hengjun is expected to be formally charged with endangering national security, according to his lawyer. Yang, a Chinese public intellectual who has long advocated for democratic reforms in China, has been detained for the last six months in an unknown location in China.

Confirmed: Google Terminated Project Dragonfly, Its Censored Chinese Search Engine
At a Senate Judiciary hearing, Google’s vice president of public policy, Karan Bhatia, confirmed that the tech giant has abandoned work on its secret project codenamed Dragonfly, a censored search engine tailored for the Chinese market.

Singapore Says It’s Fighting ‘Fake News.’ Journalists See a Ruse.
Individual ministers in Singapore will soon be able to decide whether a piece of content online is “false or misleading” and to issue a takedown or correction order. Press-freedom activists say that it is a straightforward power grab, another mechanism for extending government controls into the digital world—one that sets the ruling party up as the sole arbiter of what is true.

DARE is a project of PEN America’s #LouderTogether campaign, bringing you a daily-curated roundup of the most important free expression-related news from the U.S. and abroad. Send your feedback and story suggestions to [email protected]