Articles about "Government surveillance"

U.S. joins ‘Enemies of the Internet’ list

Electronic Frontier Foundation | Reporters Without Borders | The Washington Post
The United States made Reporters Without Borders' "Enemies of the Internet" list for the first time, Jillian C. York reports. The U.K., Russia and India join the same freshman class.

"While the US government doesn’t censor online content, and pours money into promoting Internet freedom worldwide, the National Security Agency’s unapologetic dragnet surveillance and the government’s treatment of whistleblowers have earned it a spot on the index," York writes.

York also suggests some countries that could have made the list: Turkey, Jordan and Morocco deserve inclusion for various policies, she argues.

Reporters Without Borders includes a list of "Corporate Enemies" in this year's report -- firms that "sell products that are liable to be used by governments to violate human rights and freedom of information."

And it talks about the responsibility of news organizations and journalists for information security: "Protection of sources is no longer just a matter of journalistic ethics," it reads. (more...)
The sign that serves as the backdrop for press briefings at the Department of Justice is seen before a press conference Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2006 in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

DOJ releases new rules about obtaining media orgs’ records

The New York Times | Associated Press The U.S. Department of Justice Friday released new rules for how it will try to obtain records from journalists in the future. They "create a presumption that prosecutors generally will provide advance notice to the news media when seeking to obtain their communications records," Charlie Savage reports. The Justice Department didn't win rave reviews last May, when news broke it had seized AP phone records without notifying the organization. (more...)
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TV anchor says officials searched her driver’s license information nearly 4,000 times

The Free Press KMSP anchor Alix Kendall says police and other government employees searched the state's driver's license database for her information more than 3,800 times over the last ten years. The searches were the "result of curiosity," Dan Nienaber of The (Mankato, Minn.) Free Press reports Kendall's attorney said. She's suing several municipalities for $75,000.
Kendall's lawsuit claims her name was searched by police officers, sheriff's deputies and other public employees from agencies all over the state. A few examples from the Mankato area include 23 searches by the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Department, three searches by the Blue Earth County probation office, two searches by the Mankato Department of Public Safety, five searches by the Lake Crystal Police Department, 11 searches by the Le Sueur County Sheriff's Department, seven searches by the Le Sueur Police Department and eight searches by the New Ulm Police Department.

Bill would make it easier for U.K. police to seize journalists’ notes

The Guardian | Newspaper Society
A bill due for a second reading in Britain's parliament Monday would ease the burden of U.K. police in seizing journalists' "notebooks, photographs and digital files," Owen Bowcott reports in The Guardian.

News organizations can currently attend hearings for what U.K. courts call "production orders," Bowcott writes, but a deregulation bill would allow such proceedings to occur in secret court sessions, without media outlets being present.
The underlying rules governing whether police can have access to material will remain the same but without media organisations being present it is feared that judges will be more easily persuaded to authorise police seizures of journalistic material. One of the less prominent recommendations of the Leveson inquiry into media standards was that it should be easier for police to obtain journalists' information. Media organisations already face being charged with contempt of court if they do not comply.
The bill would repeal "important provisions in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984," Britain's Newspaper Society says in a brief.
The repeal of the safeguards which were deliberately enshrined in the Act once done could well be interpreted as encouragement to reduce not strengthen the freedom of expression safeguards for journalistic material and confidential sources against inappropriate use of police powers.
Related: Watch The Guardian destroy hard drives with Snowden files
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Stop watch

’60 Minutes’ reporter didn’t want NSA story to be ‘a puff piece’

"60 Minutes" In an interview with "60 Minutes Overtime" producer Ann Silvio, John Miller talks about his intentions with "60 Minutes"' two-part NSA story, which ran Sunday. Miller said the disclosure that he used to work in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was important, but "You also don't want this to be a puff piece."
I think we asked the hardest questions we could ask. And part of this is not to go there and show you can beat up a public official in an interview. I have been beat up as a public official in interviews, and I have beaten up public officials in interviews. Our job this time was to take the hardest questions we could find and ask them, 'What's the answer to it,' and then spend a couple of minutes listening. Because this is really the side of the story that has been mined only in the most superficial ways. We've heard plenty from the critics. We've heard a lot from Edward Snowden. Where there's been a distinctive shortage is, putting the NSA to the test and saying not just 'We called for comment today' but to get into the conversation and say that sounds a lot like spying on Americans, and then say, 'Well, explain that.'"
The National Security Agency's targeting of porn users emerged from documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and was described in a Huffington Post story Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

NSA targets porn use, poor fact-checking

The Huffington Post Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Grim and Ryan Gallagher's report on the NSA's plan to embarrass "radicalizers" by collecting their online activities shows the agency focused in part on whether they used porn: The knowledge that such a person looked at explicit material online might dilute their message somewhat, documents leaked by Edward Snowden say. But porn use isn't the only vulnerability the NSA is looking for (bold text mine):
One target's offending argument is that "Non-Muslims are a threat to Islam," and a vulnerability listed against him is "online promiscuity." Another target, a foreign citizen the NSA describes as a "respected academic," holds the offending view that "offensive jihad is justified," and his vulnerabilities are listed as "online promiscuity" and "publishes articles without checking facts." A third targeted radical is described as a "well-known media celebrity" based in the Middle East who argues that "the U.S perpetrated the 9/11 attack." Under vulnerabilities, he is said to lead "a glamorous lifestyle." A fourth target, who argues that "the U.S. brought the 9/11 attacks on itself" is said to be vulnerable to accusations of “deceitful use of funds." The document expresses the hope that revealing damaging information about the individuals could undermine their perceived "devotion to the jihadist cause."
Via Dan Gillmor

New York Times’ D.C. bureau ‘is a wimpy place right now,’ Gay Talese says

In a wide-ranging interview with Longform's Max Linsky, legendary reporter Gay Talese said The New York Times "is a much better paper than when I worked for it." And that's about how positive it gets. "It doesn't have the antigovernment tone that I want," Talese says. He continues:
If I was editor, I would get people after Obama. I voted for the guy, but he's a disaster as a president. And a disaster most through his Justice Department and muzzling the press. Succeeding. And nobody's -- there's no Salisbury, Halberstam to bust ass in Washington anymore. That Washington bureau is a wimpy place right now and has been since Obama's election, or since 9/11 actually. The press, when it comes to contending with government and censorship or the maneuvering that government has done because of the 9/11 and the Iraq War and allowing its reporters to be embedded with American troops. And the Times allowed that. That was a disgraceful thing. When you allow a journalist to ride in a tank that is owned by the Defense Department, you become a flunky of the Defense Department. You become identified with the troops that are saving your ass in Iraq.
Correction: This piece originally said Talese said "there's no Sulzberger, Halberstam to bust ass in Washington anymore." He in fact said there was no Salisbury, Halberstam to bust ass in Washington anymore.

James Risen ‘will, of course, keep fighting’ after court setback

Politico | The New York Times
A federal appeals court Tuesday said it would not reconsider a July decision ordering New York Times reporter James Risen to testify in the trial of a purported source.

"I will, of course, keep fighting," Risen told Politico's Josh Gerstein Tuesday.

The decision "is expected to set up an appeal by Mr. Risen to the Supreme Court in what has become a major case over the scope and limitations of First Amendment press freedoms," Charlie Savage writes in the Times.

"It's possible prosecutors could withdraw the subpoena, particularly under new guidelines Attorney General Eric Holder issued in July limiting efforts to seek information or testimony from journalists," Gerstein writes. Gerstein also posted a copy of the court's decision.

Related: NYT interview with Obama: No surveillance questions?

New tool promises sources a secure channel to any newsroom

The Huffington Post | Freedom of the Press Foundation
The Freedom of the Press Foundation released SecureDrop Tuesday. It's an open-source tool that allows whistleblowers, or anyone who wants to communicate anonymously with journalists, a channel far more secure than email.

The system is built on code written by Aaron Swartz and has been managed by Wired investigations editor Kevin Poulsen, John Cusack and Josh Stearns write in The Huffington Post. The New Yorker implemented a version of the tool in May. Cusack and Stearns cite the Committee to Protect Journalists' recent report about press freedom in the United States, which said sources now fear contacting news organizations because of stepped-up leak investigations by the federal government. (more...)

Abramson: U.K. asked New York Times to ‘relinquish’ Snowden material

The Guardian | The Independent | The Wall Street Journal | Techdirt
Representatives from the United Kingdom's embassy in Washington, D.C., asked New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson to "relinquish any material that we might be reporting on, relating to Edward Snowden," she tells Guardian reporter Ed Pilkington. "Needless to say I considered what they told me, and said no."

Earlier this year, Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger wrote in August that two representatives of Britain's Government Communications Headquarters oversaw "the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents." (more...)