29 September 2014. NEC member Fiona O’Cleirigh reported from last week’s NUJ Information Security event that, thanks to the ever more intrusive activities of state security services, it is getting harder and harder to guarantee information sources their anonymity. Which makes whistleblowing and countering official corruption that much more difficult.
While the right to privacy is enshrined within Article 12 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, millions of people around the world have been placed under official surveillance for one reason or another. Largely due to the octopus-like tentacles of the so-called Homeland Security sector, a culture of fear has been, and is still being, engendered amongst ordinary citizens. One that makes them susceptible to having their fundamental rights downgraded or even completely removed.
Until Snowden, all too many of us were not even aware the process was going on. Now that we are, official agencies such as the CIA, GCHQ and their continental European equivalents have shown all too clearly not only their almost complete lack of respect for the principles of democratic accountability, but also that they are as susceptible to the power-grabbing blandishments of the security industry as anyone else.
What does a simple journalist do? The NUJ supports the Press Gazette’s (UK) “Save Our Sources” campaign, and recommends that members carry out some basic steps to minimise their vulnerability to snooping, be it from official sources or your neighbour’s (often too IT literate) kids.
The union teamed up with the the Centre for Investigative Journalism to have professional infosecurity consultant Arjen Kamphuis deliver a two-hour session of free training on the subject. He began by pointing out that all internet users are subject to some degree of automated interception.