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Press Freedom News and Views


Blog   |   Internet

Privatizing censorship in fight against extremism is risk to press freedom

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President Barack Obama at a summit on countering violent extremism in September. Proposed measures rick curtailing press freedom. (AFP/Jewel Samad)

"We're stepping up our efforts to discredit ISIL's propaganda, especially online," President Barack Obama told delegates at the Leaders' Summit on Countering Violent Extremism last month. The social media counter-offensive comes amid U.N. reports of a 70 percent increase in what it terms "foreign terrorist fighters"--citizens of U.N. member states who have left to join Islamic State and other militant groups.

Blog   |   Internet, Security, USA

Save Crypto: CPJ joins call for Obama to back strong encryption

The Committee to Protect Journalists has signed a petition organized by digital rights groups Access and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, urging President Barack Obama to publicly commit the U.S. to a policy of supporting strong encryption. Since the Save Crypto petition's launch on September 29, it has gathered nearly 18,000 signatures, including about 30 from press freedom and digital rights groups.

October 2, 2015 5:12 PM ET


Blog   |   Internet, Security

Flaws discovered in TrueCrypt, but journalists still have options for encryption

Project Zero, a Google team that searches for bugs, has identified two flaws affecting the TrueCrypt disk encryption software program. While the flaws, which were found by computer security researcher James Forshaw, are not cryptographic--meaning they couldn't be used directly to decrypt a disk or device--they present potential problems for user security.

October 2, 2015 3:01 PM ET

Blog   |   France, Internet

CPJ joins call to oppose draft surveillance law in France

A protester holds a placard which reads 'I know they tap my phones' during a rally against the proposed surveillance bill in France. (Reuters/Charles Platiau)

The Committee to Protect Journalists has joined 30 other press freedom and digital rights groups in calling on the French government to reject a draft law on surveillance. The open letter, submitted yesterday to members of parliament, warns against giving authorities greater powers to spy on communications.

October 1, 2015 5:57 PM ET


Blog   |   Internet

CPJ backs Manila Principles to help protect Internet intermediaries

The Committee to Protect Journalists has signed on to the Manila Principles, a set of best practices launched at RightsCon 2015, a digital rights conference CPJ attended in the Philippines in March. With journalists facing increased risks, the principles offer a way to protect the platforms on which they rely.

September 23, 2015 10:35 AM ET


Blog   |   Internet, Security, USA

Has White House finally got the message about strong encryption? Welcome shift seen in speeches and policy memo

The west wing of the White House in July. The Obama administration is debating whether to support stronger encryption. (Geoffrey King/CPJ)

Yesterday, during a panel on encryption policy hosted by Just Security, an online forum covering national security law and policy, top U.S. intelligence lawyer Robert S. Litt pressed the case for engineering backdoors in encryption without undermining computer security as a whole. As CPJ has documented, leading security and policy experts consider this impossible.

Blog   |   Germany, Internet

Germany scores against the surveillance state

It all went very fast. On Tuesday morning August 4, Germany’s chief federal prosecutor, Harald Range, was ordered by Justice Minister Heiko Maas to withdraw an independent expert from the investigation of two journalists from Netzpolitik. The investigator had concluded that leaked documents quoted by the news website amounted to a disclosure of a state secret, one of the required criteria to pursue a treason case. The prosecutor protested: “To meddle with an internal review on the basis that the results might be inopportune is an intolerable interference with the independence of the judiciary .” A few hours later on Tuesday evening Maas asked for the prosecutor to be granted early retirement. In plain words, Harald Range was sacked.

Blog   |   Indonesia, Internet, Security, USA

Increased risks for filmmakers and sources in documentaries' Golden Age

A scene from Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary 'The Look of Silence.' (Courtesy of Drafthouse Films and Participant Media)

Joshua Oppenheimer travelled to New York for today's premiere of his documentary "The Look of Silence," but one place he won't travel is Indonesia, where he says his work on this and an earlier film puts him at risk. Earlier this week, Laura Poitras, the Academy Award-winning director of the documentary CITIZENFOUR, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government seeking information related to border interrogations to which she was subjected between 2006 and 2012. These two cases represent the increased and varied risks facing filmmakers and their sources in what many critics have dubbed the Golden Age of documentary film.

July 17, 2015 1:27 PM ET

Blog   |   Internet, Security

Hacking Team leak underscores complexity of regulating software

Among the 400 gigabytes of internal documents belonging to surveillance firm Hacking Team that were released online this week are details of the company's dealings with some of the most oppressive governments in the world. The revelations, which have generated alarm among privacy, security, and human rights advocates, have also fueled debate around the esoteric but important topic of government controls on the export of powerful software that can secretly infiltrate and seize control of targeted computers.

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