Madeline Earp/CPJ Consultant Technology Editor

Madeline Earp is a consultant technology editor for CPJ. She has edited digital security and rights research for projects including five editions of Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net report, and is a former CPJ Asia researcher.

Forensic tools open new front for using phone data to prosecute journalists

On April 13, police in Russia’s Khakassiya republic arrested Mikhail Afanasyev and seized his digital devices. Afanasyev, chief editor of the online magazine Novy Fokus, was detained based on an article about riot police in southern Siberia refusing to serve in Ukraine. He faces a possible 10-year prison sentence for spreading “false” information.  It’s not surprising for…

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In Morocco, journalists – and their families – still struggle to cope with spyware fears

By CPJ MENA Staff Last July, when the Pegasus Project investigation revealed that imprisoned Moroccan journalist Soulaiman Raissouni was selected for surveillance by Israeli-made Pegasus spyware, the journalist could only laugh.  “I was so sure,” his wife Kholoud Mokhtari said Raissouni told her from prison.  Raissouni is one of seven local journalists named by the…

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CPJ recommendations to protect journalists against spyware 

The arbitrary or unlawful use of spyware technologies violates human rights and causes direct damage to journalists and their ability to report freely and safely. These recommendations are necessary to protect journalists and their sources. For all governments For the U.S. government  For European Union institutions  For companies For international organizations  See CPJ’s 2021 policy…

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Why the UN’s push for a cybercrime treaty could imperil journalists simply for using the internet

Cybercrime is on the global agenda as a United Nations committee appointed to develop a treaty on the topic plans for its first meeting amid pandemic-related delays. The process is slated to take at least two years, but experts warn that such a treaty – initially proposed by Russia – could hand new tools to…

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How China’s Huawei technology is being used to censor news halfway across the world

When a staffer at the independent media website Iwacu in the central African state of Burundi tried to visit the outlet online in late October, they received an error message instead. “Hum. Nous ne parvenons pas à trouver ce site;” the site could not be found  – even though the local media regulator had promised…

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David Kaye on the Pegasus Project and why surveillance reform should reach beyond NSO Group and Israel

In 2020, then-United Nations special rapporteur for freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye pressed Israeli firm NSO Group in a public letter for details about its human rights due diligence and assertions that Saudi Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi had not been targeted with its Pegasus spyware before his brutal 2018 murder. The group…

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Pegasus Project revelations show added layer of risk for corruption reporters

Exposing those who abuse power for personal gain is a dangerous activity. Nearly 300 journalists killed for their work since CPJ started keeping records in 1992 covered corruption, either as their primary beat, or one of several. The risk was reaffirmed this month with the release of the Pegasus Project, collaborative reporting by 17 global…

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Investigative reporter Bradley Hope: Pegasus spyware revelations a ‘wake-up call for journalists’

Bradley Hope was in Abu Dhabi in 2009, the year the BlackBerry devices overheated. “If you put it next to your face it would almost burn,” he told CPJ in a phone interview. The BBC that year reported that a UAE telecom company had prompted local BlackBerry owners to install a rogue surveillance update disguised…

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Israeli lawyer Eitay Mack on bringing transparency to surveillance exports that threaten press freedom

“Many countries are using these technologies to put people in jail,” Israeli lawyer Eitay Mack told CPJ in a recent video interview. He was describing advanced surveillance capabilities, such as those that CPJ has documented being used to target journalists like Omar Radi and Maati Monjib, who were both jailed in Morocco in 2020.  Israeli companies like NSO Group and Cellebrite market equipment to…

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UK online safety bill raises censorship concerns and questions on future of encryption

The U.K. government emphasized press freedom this month when it published the draft online safety bill for social media companies, pledging that the bill would protect both “citizen journalism” and “recognized news publishers” from censorship. Vocal segments of the media not only welcomed the legislation, but actively campaigned for it. When Oliver Dowden, secretary of…

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