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Bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general set to launch antitrust investigations into Facebook and Google. Assistant vice dean at the University of Alabama resigns one day after Breitbart News publishes article on his tweets about police and racism made over two years ago. California superior court unseals final, fifth warrant that targeted freelance journalist Bryan Carmody, finding his work was protected by California’s shield law that keeps journalists from being forced to disclose confidential sources or hand over unpublished materials. (See PEN America’s amicus brief filed in support of Carmody’s case). A campaign group cites Pornhub for profiting from featuring “revenge porn” videos and failing to remove them once they are reported. (See PEN America’s Online Harassment Field Manual for resources on how to respond to online attacks).
Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs

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


A Bipartisan Coalition of State Attorneys General to Launch Antitrust and Privacy Inquiries into Facebook and Google
Dozens of U.S. states are set to launch antitrust and privacy investigations into Facebook and Google as scrutiny of the big tech firms increases. The investigation into Alphabet’s Google unit will examine the search giant’s effect on the digital advertising market and its impact on consumers. In a separate but overlapping investigation, states’ leading law enforcement officials will investigate Facebook’s privacy record and its advertising model.

Assistant Vice Dean at the University of Alabama Resigns after Pictures of Past Tweets Surface
Jamie R. Riley, the University of Alabama’s assistant vice president and dean of students, resigned from his position Thursday after less than seven months on the job, university officials confirmed. His resignation comes a day after Breitbart News published an article detailing images of past tweets from Riley, in which he criticized the American flag and made a connection between police and racism.

Fifth Judge Sides with First Amendment Coalition, Orders Release of Records in Bryan Carmody Raid
The First Amendment Coalition has prevailed in unsealing a fifth and final warrant that targeted freelance journalist Bryan Carmody, capping a months-long fight for transparency in the now-infamous raid that drew widespread condemnation. See PEN America’s amicus brief in support of Carmody’s case.

Pornhub Owners ‘Profit from Revenge Porn’
The owners of porn streaming site Pornhub are profiting from “revenge porn” and failing to remove videos once reported. One woman said she felt “violated” after a video featuring her was viewed hundreds of thousands of times when it was uploaded online. See PEN America’s Online Harassment Field Manual for resources on how to respond to online attacks.


Turkish Court Acquits Academic in 2016 Kurdish Letter Case
A court in Istanbul ruled Friday for the acquittal of Ozlem Sendeniz, one of nine academics charged with “propaganda of a terrorist organization” for signing a 2016 letter calling for the end of the conflict in the country’s southeast.

China to Curb Facial Recognition and Apps in Schools
The pledge came from Lei Chaozi, director of science and technology at China’s Ministry of Education, following reports a university in China was trialing the technology to monitor the attendance and behavior of students in class.

Outspoken Journalist in Australia and Father in China Harassed Online 
Anonymous online users have called journalist Vicky Xiuzhong Xu’s father, from whom she is estranged, to be “punished” for his daughter’s views and to be expelled from China. An article from the outlet, College Daily, considered a propaganda tool of the Chinese government, asserted that Xu was an “American mouthpiece” and that she was only criticizing the Chinese government to get political asylum in Australia. Xu said College Daily did not contact her before publication, and that the claims were false.

Opposition Party Activist Arrested in Cambodia, Held on Unknown Charge
Hun Sokong, a member of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was arrested without a warrant and is being held on an unknown charge. Three other CNRP activists were arrested earlier this week in the central province of Kampong Thom, and have been charged with “incitement to commit a felony,” a rights worker in the province told RFA, calling the arrests an attack on Cambodians’ right to freedom of speech.
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