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Blog   |   Internet, Security, USA

CPJ joins call urging White House to protect encryption for journalists

A wheel cipher invented by Thomas Jefferson and used to securely encode messages in the late 1700s. CPJ is calling on President Obama to ensure modern versions of encryption remain protected. (Jefferson Cipher Wheel by ideonexus is licensed under CC BY 3.0 US)

Journalists are safest when their devices are secure by default. That is why the Committee to Protect Journalists today joined a coalition of nearly 150 civil society organizations, companies, trade associations, security experts, and policy specialists in sending a joint letter to U.S. President Barack Obama. The letter urges the president to support the broad adoption of strong encryption and to reject any proposal that intentionally weakens the security of products made by U.S. companies.

May 19, 2015 12:31 PM ET

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Blog   |   France, Internet, Security

French surveillance law passes National Assembly, but it's not the last word

Protesters demonstrate against the government's bill giving spies sweeping new surveillance powers on May 4, 2015 in Paris. (AFP/Alain Jocard)

Until the last moment the opponents of a very controversial French intelligence bill tried to be heard. On Monday May 4 on the eve of the vote, activists kept calling deputies to convince them to reject the bill. They had no chance however, since the Socialist government could count on a solid majority from both mainstream left and right at the National Assembly, the lower house of the Parliament. The bill was swiftly and overwhelmingly adopted on Tuesday afternoon with 438 for, 86 against, and 42 abstentions. It will now be sent to the Senate where, despite the chamber being dominated by the center-right opposition, it is not expected to face significant hurdles. "It should be on the statute books by July ," BBC Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield predicted.

Blog   |   Internet, Security

When it comes to Great Firewall attacks, HTTPS is greatest defense

An Internet café in Beijing. Attacks that appear to have been mediated by China's censors against GitHub, a software site vital to Chinese developers, demonstrate the importance of HTTPS in protecting against censorship. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

The power of HTTPS to protect has been brought into sharp focus by a series of attacks against software collaboration site GitHub. These attacks consistently failed because of the site's universal use of HTTPS. Most recently, GitHub reported a blistering series of distributed denial of service attacks in March, which it believes were an attempt to persuade the site to remove certain content. Security researchers including Robert Graham and Insight Labs analyzed the latest GitHub attack, concluding that it appears to have been mediated by China's "great firewall" censorship system.

April 8, 2015 2:03 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Internet, Security

China's CNNIC issues false certificates in serious breach of crypto trust

Google's landing page for China is viewed on a laptop in Hong Kong. False credentials were issued for Google and other domains by Chinese digital certificate company CNNIC. (AFP/Frederic J. Brown)

In a major breach of public trust and confidence, the Chinese digital certificate authority China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) certified false credentials for numerous domains, including several owned by Google. The deliberate breach had the potential to seriously endanger vulnerable users, such as journalists communicating with sources. The breach was discovered by Google and published on its security blog on March 23. Despite this serious lapse, it appears CNNIC's authority will not be revoked, and that its credentials will continue to be trusted by almost all computers around the world.

Blog   |   Internet, Security, USA

CPJ joins call for meaningful reform of US surveillance

Mass surveillance and the bulk collection of metadata by the U.S. government pose serious threats to journalists in the U.S. and around the world, which is why the Committee to Protect Journalists today joined a wide coalition of privacy, human rights, technology, and trade groups calling on Congress and the Obama Administration to include certain elements in U.S. surveillance reform.

Blog   |   Security, Syria

Syria anniversary shows need for more news outlets to step up

People walk on rubble after what activists said were airstrikes and shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus, February 9, 2015. (Reuters/Mohammed Badra)

It started as a street protest against President Bashar al-Assad. Ordinary citizens took out their smart phones to record the demonstrations that quickly spread. Four years and 220,000 dead later, the Syrian civil war is still raging, although the numbers of 'citizen' and professional journalists on hand to document it is woefully small.

Blog   |   Security, USA

US 'no-negotiation' hostage policy should be changed

Thirty years ago, when I was snatched off the street in Beirut by radical Shiites calling themselves "Islamic Jihad," the world took my plight and that of other Westerners kidnapped in Lebanon's long war to heart. During the nearly seven years I was held, countless demonstrations were staged on our behalf by churches, journalists, hometowns in America, France, Britain, Ireland and many other countries. Miles of yellow ribbon were tied to oak trees, and newspaper editorials ceaselessly demanded our release. When I finally emerged from the Lebanese gulag, the longest-held Western hostage, there were dozens of boxes of letters waiting for me, from school children and ordinary people across America, along with grand welcome home parties in New York and Washington.

March 13, 2015 11:01 AM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Security

How CPJ is working to ensure journalists can protect themselves

Preparations for the Circumvention Tech Festival in Valencia, Spain, where journalists, technologists, and human rights defenders gathered to share skills and advice. (Geoffrey King)

Last week, the Committee to Protect Journalists' Internet Advocacy team was in Valencia, Spain, for the first Circumvention Tech Festival: a mashup of journalists, activists, technologists, and human rights defenders united by a desire to fight censorship and surveillance. More than 500 registered participants from 40 countries shared their skills, strategies, and experiences in combating these global challenges.

Blog   |   Iraq, Security, USA

Video: Bob Simon recounts 1991 capture in Iraq

When I heard the news last week that Bob Simon had died, I immediately thought back to an interview I had done with him in 2010. It was at an event called the "Courage Forum.," an ideas festival which took place the Museum of Modern Art hosted in New York City. It featured speakers who had demonstrated courage in various walks of life, among them tight rope artist Philippe Petit.

February 20, 2015 1:10 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Security

CPJ calls on U.N. to protect use of encryption for journalists

For journalists to work safely they must be able to protect themselves and their sources, which is why encryption is such a vital tool. On February 10, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press submitted a joint letter to the U.N. urging it to ensure that long-standing freedom of expression and privacy principles also protect reporters' use of encryption and anonymity-protecting technologies.

February 18, 2015 5:47 PM ET

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