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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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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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Simple steps to protect journalists and sources from eavesdroppers

Journalists are among those most likely to face technical attempts at attack and interception. Reporting is based on discussions with sources who may want to remain out of the limelight, and news sites attract extensive readership, making them a desirable target for potential attackers. But there are simple steps to protect against the most common form of eavesdropping, and journalists should be aware of the types of technical adversaries they may face.

October 16, 2014 10:23 AM ET

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How automatic encryption ensures safety by default

Apple chief executive Tim Cook reveals the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch in September. Apple's latest software includes automatic encryption. (Getty Images/AFP/Justin Sullivan)

The year is 1991, the month April. EMF is playing on the radio. The term "cyberspace" has existed for only half a decade. The world wide web won't exist for another four months. The software engineer Linus Torvalds has only just started work on the Linux operating system. The fastest computer you can own has a 50 Mhz processor. Yes *megahertz*, with a *M*.

October 2, 2014 11:51 AM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia, Internet, Russia, Security, Thailand, Turkey, USA

No press freedom without Internet freedom

Four years ago, when CPJ launched its Internet Advocacy program, we were met with lots of encouragement, but also some skepticism.

"Why do you need a program to defend the Internet?" one supporter asked. "You don't have a special program to defend television, or radio, or newspapers."

But the Internet is different. Increasingly, when it comes to global news and information the Internet is not a platform. It is the platform.

Blog   |   Internet, UK

Rushed data legislation would give UK worrying surveillance powers

The British government's attempt to rush through a bill on data retention before the House of Commons summer recess next week has run into opposition--not from members across the aisle but from Internet companies, civil liberty defenders, and lawyers, who say the law would extend the authorities' already vast snooping capabilities.

Blog   |   Internet, USA

TSA policy change could compound security concerns for journalists in transit

On Sunday, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced a new policy requiring that travelers to the United States turn on their devices at the request of airport security personnel. Devices that cannot be powered on will be barred from the aircraft, and passengers in possession of such devices may also be subjected to additional screening. While a number of commenters have lamented the policy change on the grounds that it is likely to cause confusion and otherwise inconvenience passengers, the move could also aggravate the risks journalists already face when traveling with sensitive materials such as notes, unpublished photographs, or information about sources.

Blog   |   Internet, Russia

Russia intensifies restrictions on blogs, social media

On August 1, Russia will significantly tighten its grip on blogging and social media conversations and will acquire expanded powers to block Internet services originating abroad. The new authorities, approved by Russia's parliament in April, buttress existing regulations that have already been used to block several independent news sites, some of which reported on the political upheaval in Ukraine in a way that apparently drew the government's ire.

Blog   |   India, Internet

Worrisome curbs on free speech emerge since Modi's election

Earlier this month, Indian authorities arrested seven people for publishing a photo of India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, alongside figures such as George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, and Adolf Hitler, under the headline, "Negative Faces." The seven, who could face lengthy prison terms if convicted, are but the latest Indians facing criminal proceedings for their critical views of Modi, a trend that is raising concerns about freedom of expression and press freedom under India's new leadership.

Blog   |   Internet, Pakistan

A year after Snowden revelations, damage persists to freedom of expression in Pakistan

In Pakistan, where freedom of expression is largely perceived as a Western notion, the Snowden revelations have had a damaging effect. The deeply polarized narrative has become starker as the corridors of power push back on attempts to curb government surveillance. "If the citizens of the United States of America cannot have these rights, how can you? .." is an argument that rights advocate hear way too often. The Snowden revelations quickly became a moment of recognition for those otherwise labeled as conspiracy theorists who believed that all digital transmissions become a tool that can be used by the U.S. government. Unlike, for example, Brazil, which has fought back, the government of Pakistan is working on ways it could replicate a NSA-like model in this country.

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