Last month The Cambodia Daily announced it was going HTTPS. In a guest post for OJB Joshua Wilwohl explains why they decided to go secure, and how they did it. (Disclosure: Joshua is a student of mine on the MA in Online Journalism by distance learning at Birmingham City University).
During the past year, The Cambodia Daily has witnessed an increase in government interest in monitoring the Internet.
This week, the newspaper revealed a government plan to inspect the network equipment, billing and data files of mobile phone operators and internet service providers.
Government officials argued this was to help with investigations into crime committed over Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.
But computer crime experts said the Government’s planned tactics could also be used to monitor people’s phone calls and Internet data. As one expert said: Continue reading
Home secretary Theresa May wants to be able to connect IP addresses (which identify machines) with users (those using it at that particular time).
In a nutshell this means being able to identify whether you were in a particular place at a particular time – only the ‘place’ in question happens to be virtual: a website.
Now clearly this is aimed at identifying terrorists and paedophiles. But then so was RIPA, a law which has been used to spy on journalists and intimidate staff who speak to them and to “pull reporters’ phone records in every single leak inquiry in the last ten years“, including all calls to the Sun’s newsdesk and by their political editor in one inquiry.
In recent weeks we have heard about prison officials monitoring confidential phonecalls between MPs and prisoners, and between lawyers and their clients. Continue reading
This video, from this year’s Google I/O conference, is one of the best explanations I’ve seen on HTTPS with regard to publishers.
It’s worth watching for five minutes or so to get an insight into why HTTPS is so important not just in protecting users, but also in protecting your own reputation.
HTTPS protects users because it prevents others from seeing what sites they visited before and after yours, and what pages they’re looking at on your site.
Imagine a whistleblower checking your site or profile out, or indeed one of your own journalists visiting it using hotel or coffee shop wifi, and you have an idea what I mean.
But HTTPS also prevents hackers from impersonating your site in order to collect user data. I imagine most publishers will be more concerned with their customers than their sources.
For journalists who suddenly realise that their web browsing is public information, I recommend the browser plugin HTTPS Everywhere, which turns on HTTPS by default (where sites support it) in Chrome, Firefox, Firefox on Android, or Opera.