On July 23, I gave a presentation as part of the HOPE XI hacker conference at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. My talk, entitled “Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Journalists?” described the challenges of protecting journalists in a world where journalism is no longer conducted only by professionals. I exhorted the technologists and developers in attendance to build tools which account for the distinctive needs of journalism and which protect their users when they are engaged in acts of journalism.
When everyone has access to the tools of journalism, it is imperative not only to protect journalists themselves but also to ensure that acts of journalism can be performed safely and without fear of censorship or reprisal. As the technology necessary for committing acts of journalism becomes ever more widely available, we must make sure that this technical infrastructure is responsive to changing needs. When the media of mass communication are available to all, it is impossible to know who will be performing acts of journalism tomorrow, or who could be their sources or whistleblowers. We must therefore ensure that computers are trustworthy and communications tools are safe and private by default.