What Snowden Has to Teach Journalists

“Confidentiality means nothing if a third party can reasonably access whom a journalist has been talking to through their phone logs, contacts, lists, e-mails, texts or by working out who else was in a certain location at a certain time.” (22)

In Journalism After Snowden, the text discusses the concept of privacy and lack thereof. The chapter makes a valid argument for journalists to take privacy in terms of technology more seriously, in their own lives and writing on the topic in general.

If you are a law abiding citizen you have nothing to fear, but for journalists the idea of location services and the fact that iphones alone share a plethora of private information without knowledge can be a threat to their sources. This idea that our phones, computers, emails, texts and calls are being monitored is nothing new. This has always been a common trend.

Since this is something that can effect journalists, I would think that they would have a moral responsibility to absorb what Edward Snowden was trying to tell and prove to us. So many forms of communication are only relatively safe and passwords and encryptions can only do so much if we are not utilizing them correctly. Edward Snowden was able to utilize his position as a contracted CIA and NSA employee to raise awareness around the fact that the government does not take privacy seriously. It was beyond easy for him to leak and release NSA documents and I think that speaks volumes to how the United States handles the gravity of privacy and security of information.

One thought on “What Snowden Has to Teach Journalists

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  1. I would take issue with 2 points here.
    1. You suggest that law abiding citizens have nothing to fear. This would assume that no one is ever wrongfully prosecuted or that governments never abuse their powers or that even, laws might not be changed. If you research terrorism for a living, you might find yourself under greater scrutiny by the government and perhaps swept up in a wrongful prosecution where you search history might be used against you as “evidence.” Certainly criticizing the government has always been protected speech but that has not in the past kept government from surveiling those who were too vocal. How much worse is that surveillance now with the vast capability of the surveillance state combined with a current administration that has set about violating all sorts of democratic norms.

    2) You suggest that everyone has known about this surveillance. I assure you that people have not known and that great majority of Americans never considered that they were the subject of government surveillance. In my own experience as a professor, I cannot tell you how many times my students have been shocked to discover that their text messages and phone calls could be listened to without their knowledge or consent.


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