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American Dream Betrayed

Snowden: 'Journalists Are A Threatened Class' In Era Of Mass Surveillance

Whistleblower Edward Snowden warned a group of European reporters Wednesday that in the era of mass surveillance, journalists are increasingly a threatened class.

In a live-streamed discussion on investigative journalism hosted by Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung, Snowden explored the threats to journalists posed by hostile governmental forces and a vast global surveillance network.

"Journalists are increasingly a threatened class when we think about the right to privacy," Snowden said. "Yes, I can give you tips on how to protect your communications, but you are going to be engaging in an arms race that you simply cannot win. You must fight this on the front pages and you must win, if you want to be able to report in the same way that you've been able to do in the previous centuries."

Snowden went on to highlight the critical role journalists play in provoking crucial public debate about government policy, such as the United States' spying activities:

We have technologies that can protect communications in an unbreakable format when they're in transit. Governments have reacted to this as if we've thrown them in a pool of acid, saying you know, "You're shutting us out, you're going dark." This is false. Any government official who claims we're going dark is lying. We know this because we have classified documents from inside governments and we have reportage from journalists who have been in private sessions with these officials. Things are pretty bad for our side. For the government's side, it's never been easier. How do we reconcile this with this idea that these are theoretically, as far as our understanding of mathematics goes, unbreakable communications?

It's because what we're doing is we're thwarting mass surveillance when we use encryption. We're not stopping targeted surveillance. Because even, again, if you have the most well-encrypted device in the world, if the government spends a million dollars to pay a hacker to exploit your phone personally, they will very likely succeed.

In our current state of the art, offense is easier than defense. This is an unfortunate artifact of the fact that governments around the world have prioritized offensive capabilities for the benefit of spying on people so much more strongly than they have defensive capabilities, preventing our countries from being hacked.

And this is what's leading to the kind of dynamics we see today . . . Whether it's the Office of Personnel Management, whether it's this recent Democratic National Committee hack, whether it's all of these other things about infrastructural attacks, fear of the power grid being attacked - these were preventable problems.

But unfortunately we don't have this pressure, that should be simply blistering, coming from newspapers, going, "We are the most advanced societies in the world, we are the most connected societies in the world, and in some sort of computer-based conflict . . . we have more to lose."

We can hack Russia 10 times; it will cause less damage to them than one hack to us will cause. We can hack North Korea 1,000 times, and they will suffer less damage than if they hacked us a single time. This is not a game that we want to get into, so why are we doing so? It's because policy is short-sighted.

And policy is only short-sighted here because it is not being publicly debated

It is not being openly scrutinized outside of this audience of a few special interests.

Watch the whole hour-long talk here:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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From The Global Editors Network:

Edward Snowden has a message for the press when it comes to government surveillance: "Be as adversarial as possible." The former NSA contractor spoke to Editors Lab participants at Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich via video chat from Moscow yesterday. He said news organizations are not only uniquely affected by mass surveillance, but uniquely positioned to take action.

In an interview led by author and professor Dan Gillmor, Snowden warned that freedom of the press cannot exist without confidentiality between journalists and their sources. Gillmor kicked off the discussion with a developing report from The Daily Beast on AT&T's massive spying program going back as far as 1987. And in this age of increased tracking, the fear of being identified can have a chilling effect on potential whistleblowers.

See more here: Snowden: Journalists Can't Win Surveillance Arms Race Against NSA; They Have To Lobby For Privacy-Protecting Policies.

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Previously:
* AT&T Spying On Americans For Profit.

* ACLU Demands Secret U.S. Court Reveal Secret U.S. Laws.

* Obama's New Era Of Secret Law.

* EFF To Court: Government Must Inform People That It's Accessing Their E-Mails, Personal Data.

* A Plea To Citizens, Websites: Fight The Expansion Of Government Powers To Break Into Users' Computers.

* NSA Today: Archives Of Spy Agency's Internal Newsletter Culled From Snowden Documents.

* U.S. Surveillance Court A Bigger Rubber Stamp Than Chicago City Council.

* Obama Won't Tell Congress How Many Innocent Americans He's Spying On.

* Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional.

* EFF Sues For Secret Court Orders Requiring Tech Companies To Decrypt Users' Communications.

* Trying (And Trying) To Get Records From The 'Most Transparent Administration' Ever.

* EFF Urges Appeals Court To Allow Wikimedia And Others To Fight NSA Surveillance.

* U.S. Government Reveals Breadth Of Requests For Internet Records.

* What's The Evidence That Mass Surveillance Works? Not Much.

* Why The Close Collaboration Between The NSA And AT&T Matters.

* First Library To Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS E-Mail.

* EFF Sues For Records About 'Hemisphere' Phone Call Collection And Drug Enforcement Program.

* Snowden Documentarian Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government To Uncover Records After Years Of Airport Detentions And Searches.

* Obama Secretly Expanded NSA Spying To Internet.

* Court: NSA Phone Program Illegal.

* The Chicago Connection To The Hidden Intelligence Breakdowns Behind The Mumbai Attacks.

* Human Rights Watch Sues DEA Over Bulk Collection Of American's Telephone Records.

* U.S. Secretly Tracked Billions Of Calls For Decades.

* Amnesty International Joins ACLU, Wikimedia In Lawsuit To Stop Mass Surveillance Program.

* Stop Spying On Wikipedia Users.

* EFF Wins Battle Over Secret Legal Opinions On Government Spying.

* The NSA's "U.S. Corporate Partners."

* I Fight Surveillance.

* Illegal Spying Below.

* Smith vs. Obama.

* EFF Sues NSA Over FOIA.

* Stand Against Spying.

* The NSA Revelations All In One Chart.

* U.S. Supreme Court Limits Cell Phone Searches.

* EFF To Court: There's No Doubt The Government Destroyed NSA Spying Evidence.

* House Committee Puts NSA On Notice Over Encryption Standards.

* Which Tech Companies Help Protect You From Government Data Demands?

* Lawsuit Demands DOJ Release More Secret Surveillance Court Rulings.

* Human Rights Organizations To Foreign Ministers: Stop Spying On Us.

* What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn't Do.

* Technologists Turn On Obama.

* Dear Supreme Court: Set Limits On Cell Phone Searches.

* EFF Fights National Security Letter Demands On Behalf Of Telecom, Internet Company.

* Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA.

* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

* Today We Fight Back.

* The Day We Fight Back.

* FAQ: The NSA's Angry Birds.

* Jon Stewart: The Old Hope-A-Dope.

* Four Blatantly False Claims Obama Has Made About NSA Surveillance.

* EFF To DOJ In Lawsuit: Stop Pretending Information Revealed About NSA Over Last Seven Months Is Still A Secret.

* Judge On NSA Case Cites 9/11 Report, But It Doesn't Actually Support His Ruling.

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

* The NSA Is Coming To Town.

* 60 Minutes We Can't Get Back.

* Why Care About The NSA?

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

* Filed: 22 Firsthand Accounts Of How NSA Surveillance Chilled The Right To Association.

* Claim On 'Attacks Thwarted' By NSA Spreads Despite Lack Of Evidence.

* Obama Vs. The World.

* How A Telecom Helped The Government Spy On Me.

* UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

* Government Standards Agency: Don't Follow Our Encryption Guidelines Because NSA.

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

* NSA Briefing: It Just Got Worse (Again).

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

* It Not Only Can Happen Here, It Is Happening Here.

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

* America's Lying About Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Obama Continues To Lie His Ass Off About The NSA.

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Has The U.S. Government Lied About Its Snooping? Let's Go To The Videotape.

* Who Are We At War With? That's Classified.

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

* NSA Says It Can't Search Its Own E-Mails.

* Does The NSA Tap That?

* Obama Explains The Difference Between His Spying And Bush's Spying.

* FAQ: What You Need To Know About The NSA's Surveillance Programs.

* NSA: Responding To This FOIA Would Help "Our Adversaries".

* Fact-Check: The NSA And 9/11.

* The NSA's Black Hole: 5 Things We Still Don't Know About The Agency's Snooping.

* Defenders Of NSA Surveillance Citing Chicago Case Omit Most Of Mumbai Plotter's Story.

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

* ProPublica's Guide To The Best Stories On The Growing Surveillance State.

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See also:
* Jimmy Carter: America's Shameful Human Rights Record.

* James Goodale: Only Nixon Harmed A Free Press More.

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

* Paul Steiger: Why Reporters In The U.S. Now Need Protection.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on October 27, 2016


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