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posted by janrinok on Thursday February 02 2023, @05:37PM   Printer-friendly
from the unintended-consequences dept.

TikTok's CEO agrees to testify before Congress for the first time in March:

As Congress prepares to vote on a nationwide TikTok ban next month, it looks like that ban may already be doomed to fail. The biggest hurdle likely won't be mustering enough votes, but drafting a ban that doesn't conflict with measures passed in the 1980s to protect the flow of ideas from hostile foreign nations during the Cold War.

These decades-old measures, known as the Berman amendments, were previously invoked by TikTok creators suing to block Donald Trump's attempted TikTok ban in 2020. Now, a spokesperson for Representative Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), the incoming chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Ars that these measures are believed to be the biggest obstacle for lawmakers keen on blocking the app from operating in the United States.

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that lawmakers' dilemma in enacting a ban would be finding a way to block TikTok without "shutting down global exchanges of content—or inviting retaliation against US platforms and media." Some lawmakers think that's achievable by creating a narrow carve-out for TikTok in new legislation, but others, like McCaul, think a more permanent solution to protect national security interests long-term would require crafting more durable and thoughtful legislation that would allow for bans of TikTok and all apps beholden to hostile foreign countries.

[...] Back in 1977, Congress passed the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) to empower the president to impose sanctions on and oversee trade with hostile nations. The plan was to prevent average American citizens from assisting US enemies, but the law troubled publishers doing business with book authors and movie makers based in hostile nations. Those concerns led Congressman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) to propose an amendment in 1988, which passed, exempting "information and informational materials" from IEEPA and blocking presidents from regulating these materials.

As technology evolved, in 1994, another IEEPA amendment specifically exempted electronic media, leading to today, when everything from a tweet to a TikTok would be free from presidential regulation under the so-called Berman amendments. How this prevents Congress from passing a new law remains unclear, but the WSJ reports that lawmakers are hesitant to draft legislation limiting TikTok if that could threaten those protections.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday December 13 2022, @07:34PM   Printer-friendly

Biden faces a renewed push, domestically and internationally, to drop charges against Assange, who is languishing in a UK jail:

The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump.

The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that "a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy".

But the biggest test of Biden's commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.

[...] Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange's protracted prosecution.

Five major media organizations that relied on his trove of government secrets, including the Guardian and the New York Times, put out an open letter earlier this month saying that his indictment "sets a dangerous precedent" and threatens to undermine the first amendment.


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Wednesday November 16 2022, @08:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the let's-sort-this-all-out dept.

Poland Missile: False Alarm

Ukraine war: Russia denies responsibility for Poland blast

US President Joe Biden has said it is "unlikely" that a missile that killed two people in Poland on Tuesday was fired from Russia.

Russia has denied it was to blame for the missile that landed in Przewodow, on the Ukrainian border.

Poland said it was Russian-made, but US officials said initial findings indicated it was fired by Ukrainian air defences.

More than 90 Russian missiles were fired at Ukraine on Tuesday, Kyiv said.

Although the military said 77 were shot down, some of the missiles hit Lviv, not far from Ukraine's western border with Poland.

During the Russian attacks, two Polish workers were killed in a blast at a farm building in Przewodow, 6km (4 miles) from the border.

 
Earlier reported story:

Br(e)aking: Russian missiles strike Poland, kill two

https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-war-zelenskyy-kherson-9202c032cf3a5c22761ee71b52ff9d52

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia pounded Ukraine's energy facilities Tuesday with its biggest barrage of missiles yet, striking targets across the country and causing widespread blackouts, and a U.S. official said missiles crossed into NATO member Poland, where two people were killed.

A defiant Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy shook his fist and declared: "We will survive everything."

Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller did not immediately confirm the information from a senior U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation. But Mueller said top leaders were holding an emergency meeting due to a "crisis situation."

Polish media reported that two people died Tuesday afternoon after a projectile struck an area where grain was drying in Przewodów, a Polish village near the border with Ukraine.

Neighboring Moldova was also affected. It reported massive power outages after the strikes knocked out a key power line that supplies the small nation, an official said.

I bet the reaction will be "Mmrrr-hhhhh... not enough/too soon for Article 5".


[Title updated to reflect new information. Content NOT changed as it is quoting what was said at the time. It is the middle of the night for me and I will update the content tomorrow. 17-04:12 Nov 2022 - JR]

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2