Articles about "Government surveillance"


Police shouldn’t harass reporters, Obama says

Good news for media organizations: The police shouldn’t be able to bug you while you work, the president says.

Apparently exempt from that guidance: the federal government. In the past two years, the U.S. Department of Justice has secretly seized AP phone records and tried to force New York Times reporter James Risen to testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer accused of leaking information to him, and the FBI has called a Fox News reporter “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” in another leak case.… Read more

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Edward Snowden is designing tools for journalists

The Guardian

Edward Snowden is using some of his time in Russia to design “encryption tools to help professionals such as journalists protect sources and data,” Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill write in The Guardian. They interviewed the NSA whistleblower in Moscow.

Snowden is “negotiating foundation funding for the project,” they write.

“Journalists have to be particularly conscious about any sort of network signalling, any sort of connection, any sort of licence-plate reading device that they pass on their way to a meeting point, any place they use their credit card, any place they take their phone, any email contact they have with the source because that very first contact, before encrypted communications are established, is enough to give it all away,” Snowden told them.… Read more

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Jill Abramson: Being first on a story is a ‘point of pride’

PRX | The Daily Beast

At a talk at the Chautauqua Institution Wednesday, an audience member asked former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson why being first is “so important for the press.”

Abramson admitted she sometimes asks herself the same thing: “sometimes given the speed at which even a tweet gets picked up, sometimes I did say to myself why is it so darned important because everybody knows everything — the boom effect in the media is so immediate now and so loud,” she said.

But: “again being candid with you, it’s kind of a point of pride.”… Read more

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Dean Baquet is now ‘much more skeptical’ about government claims of harm

NPR | The Intercept

New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet told David Folkenflik it was “really painful” to lose the Edward Snowden scoops to The Guardian and The Washington Post. Snowden’s decision to take the documents to those outlets “was the bitter harvest of seeds sown by the Times almost a decade ago,” Folkenflik writes:

In the fall of 2004, just ahead of the November general elections, the Times’ news leadership spiked an exclusive from Washington correspondents James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, disclosing massive warrantless domestic eavesdropping by the NSA.

White House officials had warned that the results of such a story could be catastrophic.

The Times, in a decision led by then-Washington Bureau Chief Philip Taubman and then-Executive Editor Bill Keller, quashed the story, despite the objections of the two reporters, their editor Rebecca Corbett, and several of their colleagues.

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CIR raises funds for investigation into ‘neighborhood NSA’

The Center for Investigative Reporting hopes to raise $25,000 to report on surveillance by local authorities, a practice speeded by technological improvements and federal money. Subscribers get benefits on a sliding scale — from a tote bag and a tour of CIR’s newsroom if you donate $350 to email alerts when new stories go up if you pledge $5 per month.

Beacon, which is handling fundraising for the series, refers to those alerts as “subscriptions,” but CIR spokesperson Lisa Cohen tells Poynter any stories that come from this project will be available on the CIR website, and “CIR will be working with partners as the stories warrant,” Cohen writes.

“During the past year, we’ve learned a lot about the federal government’s surveillance program, but we still know very little about how local police collect and mine data,” CIR reporter Amanda Pike says in a video accompanying the pitch.… Read more

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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.… Read more

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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.… Read 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.

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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.

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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.

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