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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

How Facebook's Tor hidden service improves safety for journalists

Facebook announced on October 31 that it has made it easier and safer for users to gain access to its social network by using a dedicated Tor hidden service at https://facebookcorewwwi.onion. A dedicated hidden service access point is a powerful move to protect journalists and anyone else who uses Tor to protect privacy or circumvent censorship.

November 5, 2014 5:46 PM ET

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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   |   Internet

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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Blog   |   Internet

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   |   CPJ, 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.

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