Facebook has launched a new initiative in partnership with a number of journalism organisations to help journalists “protect their accounts and themselves on Facebook.”
A new anonymous blogging and commenting bot has appeared on the encrypted chat app Telegram — and it has some interesting potential applications for journalists.
Secretgram “helps you to create a post with anonymous comments in your Telegram channels and groups.” But it also appears to create a post that anyone can comment on anonymously — if they know the URL. Continue reading
Previously on OJB I posted about some ongoing research I was conducting into whether security practices in local news organisations had changed in the wake of the Snowden and RIPA (UK surveillance powers) revelations.
Now the full research paper has been published in the academic journal Digital Journalism, as part of a special edition on Journalism, Citizenship and Surveillance Society. The abstract pretty much sums it up:
“Despite reports of widespread interception of communications by the UK government, and revelations that police were using surveillance powers to access journalists’ communications data to identify sources, regional newspaper journalists show few signs of adapting source protection and information security practices to reflect new legal and technological threats, and there is widespread ignorance of what their employers are doing to protect networked systems of production. This paper argues that the “reactive” approach to source protection that seeks to build a legal defence if required, is no longer adequate in the context of workforce monitoring, and that publishers need to update their policies and practice to address ongoing change in the environment for journalists and sources.”
Other highlights of the edition include:
- Six ways that people in the Netherlands see their privacy in the wake of Snowden by Anouk Mols and Suzanne Janssen
- An analysis of news reporting of encryption by Einar Thorsen
- Courtney Johnson’s analysis of US reporting on surveillance
- Analysis of UK reporting of the Snowden revelations
- How two privacy advocacy groups are making their case (and how the media reports that) by Till Wascher
What a pleasant surprise to visit a profile page on The Guardian website and see a big, prominent link to the member of staff’s public key. Is this routine? It seems it is: an advanced search for profile pages mentioning “public key” brings up over 1000 results. Continue reading
In a guest post for OJB, Christian Mihr explains how German plans to allow surveillance of foreign journalists represent a threat to reporters all over the world.
There is perhaps no author more quoted when it comes to surveillance than George Orwell, and his book 1984. The recently proposed reforms to Germany‘s Foreign Intelligence Service, BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst), however, bear more resemblance to Orwell’s novel Animal Farm.
In the novel, farm animals drive their human masters away in hope of achieving democracy. But once the pigs of the farm seize power they become as tyrannical as the humans that came before them, proclaiming:
“All animals are equal – but some animals are more equal than others.”
Some journalists are more equal than others
Politicians are of course not pigs; however, this single principle of the pigs in Animal Farm seems to be the underlying assumption which led the German-ruling parties SPD and CDU/CSU (Social Democrats and the conservative Christian Democrats and Christian Socialists) to draft the new BND law, proposed at the end of June to the German public.
In the law, those more equal than others are not pigs, but rather German journalists. Continue reading