Foreign correspondents have gotten rarer, and their work has gotten harder. Journalists working abroad must assume an even more direct level of surveillance by their host country than they have here in the U.S. Their sources face punishments including death if exposed. And there are gray areas outside of national boundaries where journalists may find themselves unprotected by laws.
Those were just some of the things that came up when I was reporting Embracing Encryption in an Age of Surveillance, part of a package on The Future of Foreign News for The Nieman Reports. The title of my piece is a bit of misnomer, since many countries ban the use of encryption software, and there are a few countries (think North Korea) where the U.S. won’t let its citizens take encryption technology. But in general, encryption is a good thing for journalists to start using.
My piece could not cover the topic deeply, so if you want more, here’s a list of useful resources:
- Encryption Works: How to Protect Your Privacy in the Age of NSA Surveillance, from the Freedom of the Press Foundation
- Digital Security and Source Protection for Journalists, from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism
- Surveillance self defense, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
- CPJ Journalist Security Guide, from the Committee to Protect Journalists
The new global journalism, also from the Tow Center. More broadly about overseas reporting, but does include ideas on source protection.
CitizenFour, the documentary about the Snowden exposure of NSA spying, is also useful.
Or, check out Snowden himself, in disguise, teaching Glenn Greenwald how to use encryption.