CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Geoffrey King

San Francisco-based CPJ Internet Advocacy Coordinator Geoffrey King works to protect the digital rights of journalists worldwide. A constitutional lawyer by training, King also teaches courses on digital privacy law, as well as the intersection of media and social change, both at UC Berkeley. Follow him on Twitter at @CPJInternet. His public key fingerprint is 4749 357C E686 71B1 4C60 F149 9338 5A57 27FA 494C.

Blog   |   Internet, Security

UN report promotes encryption as fundamental and protected right

A meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye is due to present his report on encryption there on June 17. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

On Wednesday, Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye will present his report on international legal protection for encryption and anonymity to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The report is an important contribution to the security conversation at a time when some Western leaders are calling for ill-informed and impossible loopholes in technology--a trend that facilitates surveillance and tends to enable states that openly seek to repress journalists.

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

In blocking websites, France abandons role as guardian of free speech

A sign welcomes Bernard Cazeneuve to Facebook's offices in California. France's Interior Minister was in the U.S. in February to press technology companies for help in blocking content. (AFP/Susana Bates)

Attempts by the French government this week to use vague legislation to block five websites for "condoning terrorism" would be troubling anywhere, but it is especially tragic coming from the country that gave us the champion of free speech and tolerance, Voltaire.

March 19, 2015 10:32 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   |   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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Blog   |   Internet, Security, UK

Classifying media and encryption as a threat is danger to press freedom

The U.K. prides itself on its commitment to free expression, but the latest revelations of surveillance of journalists and calls by Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, to ban secure messaging belie the country's drift toward a more restrictive environment for the press. The revelations further underscore the threat surveillance by Western democracies poses to journalism, a threat that prompted the Committee to Protect Journalists' Right to Report in the Digital Age campaign.

Blog   |   Internet

'Spear phishing' attacks underscore necessity of digital vigilance

The revelation that the FBI sent a fake Associated Press story containing malware to a teenager suspected of making bomb threats has brought "spear phishing" back into the public consciousness. The technique, which combines malicious software with social cues tailored to the target, has been used by state and non-state actors to attack journalists and rights advocates, including the Committee to Protect Journalists. Spear phishing can be devastatingly effective, but there are simple steps journalists can take to protect their work, themselves, and their sources.

Blog   |   Internet

For journalists coming into US, policies border on the absurd

CPJ's internet advocacy coordinator Geoffrey King documented his experiences of being stopped at the U.S. border in a notebook. (Geoffrey King)

I was only supposed to be in Miami for the briefest of layovers. I was en route to San Francisco from São Paulo in Brazil, where I had participated in the NETMundial Conference on Internet governance along with hundreds of members of civil society, technology executives, journalists, and government officials. It was going to be a tight connection even if things had gone smoothly, but I was not free to leave. Someone wanted to ask me some questions, noted the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer holding my well-worn passport. Go stand against that wall, he told me, dropping my passport into a box attached to his booth: someone will be by to collect you.

October 28, 2014 6:01 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet

How resistance to encryption jeopardizes journalism

FBI Director James B. Comey, pictured right with outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder in June, says FBI efforts to fight crime are being thwarted by moves to protect user privacy. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP)

Earlier today, the Brookings Institution hosted a discussion with FBI Director James B. Comey, who made the case that steps taken by Apple and Google to protect user privacy were damaging the FBI's efforts to fight crime and safeguard U.S. national security. The discussion was due to take place hours before Apple launched its latest iPads, which benefit from the updated security features of the new iOS 8 operating system.

October 16, 2014 5:08 PM ET

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Blog   |   USA

Holder resignation presents U.S. with opportunity for reform

Last week's announcement by Eric Holder that he will resign as Attorney General marks what will hopefully be the beginning of the end of a perplexingly dark period for press freedom in the U.S. As Holder seeks to solidify his legacy, in part based on important civil rights reforms that he helped realize, the aggression with which his Justice Department has gone after journalists and their sources bears considerable reflection. With the nomination of a new attorney general looming, now is the time for a national conversation about just what values the chief law enforcement officer of the United States should seek to uphold.

October 1, 2014 5:24 PM ET

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