How to stay safe in the post-Snowden era

Practical advice from German journalists on how to protect content and sources from mass surveillance.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | April 30, 2014

German journalism training network ABZV has released a video of tips called ‘How journalists should protect their communications’, featuring interviews with journalist Albrecht UdeSpiegel Online’s Christian Stöcker, and Zeit Online’s Patrick Beuth. We summarise some of the key points that emerged from the short clip:

  • Encrypting should now be a basic part of any journalist’s skillset. Failing to encrypt your communications is unprofessional as it risks exposing sources.

  • Programmes like Thunderbird and the plug-in Enigmail make email encryption cheap and simple.

  • Newspapers should set up anonymous mailboxes where people can upload documents without being observed.

  • If you have to use a computer that doesn’t belong to you, use Tails. It’s an operating system that can be loaded onto a USB stick. It launches from the USB and has Tor and several other useful tools integrated. “The advantage is I can use this OS, and then take the USB stick out and leave no trace of what I’ve been doing on the computer”, Beuth explains.

The video, in German, can be viewed below. The second part will be released on 23 May.

WAN-IFRA’s Trends in Newsrooms report, which will be released on 10 June at the World Editors Forum and World Newspaper Congress in Torino, will include a chapter on dealing with these risks, including advice from journalist and security specialist Alan Pearce who recently published a book ‘Deep Web for Journalists: Comms, Counter-Surveillance, Search’.


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