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Supreme Court set to consider government collection of cellphone data in case that could shape privacy law for the digital era. The Koch brothers, billionaire GOP backers, say their $650 million stake in the Meredith Corp. purchase of Time Inc. is a “passive’’ investment that will not involve influence in editorial content or management. Former White House spokesman Anthony Scaramucci threatens to sue a Tufts University student and the school newspaper for defamation over a critical column, leading the university to postpone a campus event featuring him. New York Times profile of the “Nazi sympathizer next door” generates wide debate on whether it captured the banality of evil or normalized it. President Trump blasts CNN International for “poorly’’ representing the United States abroad; CNN responds that its job is reporting the news while representing the country is the president’s. Report says President Trump has started to plant idea that Access Hollywood tape is not real, although he acknowledged the voice was his after it was revealed during the 2016 presidential election. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


How a Radio Shack Robbery Could Spur a New Era in Digital Privacy
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will consider whether prosecutors violated the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches, by collecting vast amounts of data from cellphone companies showing the movements of the man they say organized most of the robberies.

Time Inc. Sells Itself to Meredith Corp., Backed by Koch Brothers
Some Koch allies have suggested that the brothers would view their investment purely as a moneymaking opportunity. But others familiar with the Kochs’ thinking speculated that they could nonetheless use the media properties—which reach millions of online and print readers—to promote their brand of conservatism.

Tufts Postpones Scaramucci Event After He Threatens to Sue Student, Paper
An attorney representing Scaramucci demanded that student Camilo A. Caballero and The Tufts Daily newspaper retract “false and defamatory allegations of fact” about his client and issue an apology. In an e-mail to Caballero, Scaramucci said the student had “suggested publicly” that Scaramucci had engaged in unethical behavior.

The Banality of White Nationalism
Times reporter Richard Faussett was looking for a radical disjuncture to explain white nationalist, Tony Hovater. But the disjuncture in America’s history is not the emergence of virulent racism, it’s the uneven, often halting progress the nation has made toward greater equality, enlarged tolerance, and defensible rights

CNN Fires Back at Trump: It’s Your Job to Represent the US to the World
Trump has repeatedly criticized CNN throughout his campaign and presidency, labeling them “fake news.” In contrast, he has appeared on Fox News several times and praised anchors like Sean Hannity for their coverage and ratings.

Trump Now Says the Access Hollywood Tape May be Fake
According to a New York Times report about Trump’s persistent support of Moore, Trump has said on at least two occasions, to two people within his administration, that he doesn’t think the tape is real—or, at least, that he doesn’t think the voice on the tape actually belongs to Trump.


Myanmar Accused of Wiping Out Secret Network of Rohingya Reporters
Reporters working inside Myanmar’s Rakhine state to document atrocities against Rohingya have gone missing. Human rights groups claim the Myanmar military have killed and abducted many of the reporters to “sabotage” the networks and that there is now very little reporting on what is happening in the closed state of Rakhine.

In Retaliatory Move, Putin Signs Media ‘Foreign Agents’ Law
Russian officials have said the change is a retaliatory response to the US government’s request that RT register its American arm as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Sputnik reports the amendments signed by Putin had been previously approved by both chambers of the Russian parliament.

Apple: We Can Promote Freedom of Expression in China as We Block VPN Apps
“We believe that our presence in China facilitates the free flow of ideas and information,” wrote Apple VP Cynthia Hogan. “We are convinced that Apple can best promote fundamental rights, including the right of free expression, by being engaged even where we may disagree with a particular country’s law.”

One of the Biggest Alternative Media Networks in Italy is Spreading Anti-Immigrant News and Misinformation on Facebook
This network sheds light on the overlap between the fringe underbelly of the Catholic world, Italy’s nationalist movements, and for-profit clickbait. The content ranges from viral clickbait to misleading or alarmist stories about tragic events and hyperpartisan pieces about immigration that echo nationalist and Islamophobic rhetoric.

Indian Newspapers Run Blank Pages to Protest Journalist Killing
Most of the newspapers in the state ran blank editorial pages on Thursday as an “institutional protest.” Critics of the government allege the space for dissent in India is shrinking and that violent fringes of the Hindu nationalist movement are being indulged or emboldened by BJP state and central governments.

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