Reporters are one of the bastions of democracy, as they could expose the wrongdoings of governments, corporates or well-connected individuals affecting the many. We would have never learned about the Watergate, the NSA's mass surveillance program or the detention camps of Australia without them.
Journalists rely on various sources of information to build a story of public interest. At this very moment, an army of them are relentlessly crunching open data, obtaining documents and interviewing whistleblowers for the greater good.
Circumvention of Legal Protections
The protection of information sources is a privilege of journalists all around the world. Legislations assure that authorities cannot reveal the sources, so these articles will not be suppressed. Unfortunately, there is a worrying trend of these legal safeguards are being circumvented. The FBI apparently has its ways to work around laws protecting sources, and Australia also has a precedent of bending the rules.
With the advent of computers and smartphones, it is getting more and more challenging to keep our secrets. Governments are heavily investing in surveillance programmes to get the information they need.
With the legal protections shrinking and the technical disparity widening, the protection of information sources is more challenging than ever.
Giving the Control Back
The only person who can ultimately protect them is You, the reporter.
Luckily, a growing selection of applications is available at your disposal to do so. On the other hand, it can be confusing to choose the right tool, in addition to installing and using them.
We, a couple of information security experts, recognised these problems. So we thought a website dedicated just for reporters could help you to select the best tools and practices matching your situation. We named the website as Privacy for Journalists and our goal is to help the Australian journalist community with defending their information sources.
Privacy for Journalists Website
On the main website (privacyforjournalists.org.au), we provide a simple-to-understand threat modeling to help you select the appropriate tools and practices. We have numerous illustrated guides for helping you install and use these tools. We also provide a collection of links pointing to security tips, legislations, Meetups, associations and other events aiming to defend your privacy.
The site features a Wiki (wiki.privacyforjournalists.org.au) for community-generated content. We aim to collect the various metadata legislations and their practical effects on you. Also, we have a section with real-life scenarios from real journalists and matching recommendations made by technical experts.
The community is getting together on Slack, where we can discuss best practices with each other. Head on to slack.privacyforjournalists.org.au for joining the conversation with other journalists and information security experts.