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Russell Brandom

Russell Brandom

Policy Editor

Writing about the web, the culture, the law, the movies, and whatever else seems interesting. Always looking for stories. Send me something! PGP key/sig: https://keybase.io/russellbrandom/

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Russell BrandomSep 26
The US might still force TikTok into a data security deal with Oracle.

The New York Times says the White House is still working on TikTok’s Trump-era data security deal, which has been in a weird limbo for nearly two years now. The terms are basically the same: Oracle plays babysitter but the app doesn’t get banned. Maybe it will happen now, though?


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Russell BrandomSep 26
Edward Snowden has been granted Russian citizenship.

The NSA whistleblower has been living in Russia for the 9 years — first as a refugee, then on a series of temporary residency permits. He applied for Russian citizenship in November 2020, but has said he won’t renounce his status as a U.S. citizen.


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Russell BrandomSep 22
The latest Alex Jones defamation hearing is not going well for Alex Jones.

The Infowars host has already been hit with millions of dollars in damages for spreading lies about Sandy Hook — but today’s hearing suggests he could be on the hook for even more.


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Russell BrandomSep 21
Republicans are not wild about antitrust enforcement.

The US government’s two biggest antitrust regulators — FTC chair Lina Khan and Justice Department antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter — appeared for a Senate Oversight hearing on Tuesday, and there were two quick takeaways:

1) Republicans still are eager to notch some kind of win against Khan and the Democratic FTC majority

2) They don’t really know how to do it yet.

Expect a lot of fireworks here if Republicans take back the Senate majority in November.


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Russell BrandomSep 19
Your bitcoin chart of the day.

This great chart from Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal shows tech stocks following the price of major cryptocurrencies. Basically, when Bitcoin has a bad week, it takes the whole industry down with it.


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Russell BrandomSep 16
Things have not been going well for Parler.

Makena has the news about the conservative social network’s falling user base and subsequent pivot — but Parler has also been doing increasingly desperate things to make money, including licensing out their email list to weird content marketing schemes.

For instance, here is an actual email Parler sent me last month.


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Russell BrandomSep 13
Mark Zuckerberg has very good lawyers.

As a way of dragging its heels in the FTC’s ongoing case to un-merge Facebook and Instagram, Meta is trying to get as much court-ordered information as it possibly can on rivals like Snapchat and TikTok.

The threat here is less that Meta will discover Snapchat’s secret sauce, and more that this (and a dozen other motions) will overwhelm the FTC’s ability to properly try the case with its existing resources.


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Russell BrandomSep 13
Twitter whistleblower Pieter “Mudge” Zatko is testifying before Congress.

Twitter’s abandoned plan for an OnlyFans competitor is not popular with Republicans.