Magazine article The News Media and the Law (Online)

The Encryption Decision

Magazine article The News Media and the Law (Online)

The Encryption Decision

Article excerpt

With all the relevations in the last few years about the government's snooping on communications data, what should the responsible journalist do to protect their confidential sources?

That question was the central focus of a conference organized by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and New America's Open Technology Institute, held at The Newseum in Washington, D.C., on November 7.

The discussions, described more fully in the following articles, made a few things clear. To summarize: encryption is too difficult to use, scares sources when mentioned, and raises red flags for those snooping around to find the sources. But security in electronic communications is incredibly important, not just to protect sources and whistleblowers against retaliation but to protect journalistic work product from all prying eyes - governmental and private, domestic and foreign.

Some reporters believe that electronic communications are so completely compromised that they simply cannot be used in discussions with sources. Discussions about sensitive information - especially concerning leaks of sensitive or classified government information - must be done in person, in parking garages and public parks and other places where meet-ups won't seem suspicious. …

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