3 things European broadcast editors and heads of news should know about Snowden's leaks
by Vian Bakir
26 October 2015
1. Do journalists know enough about what digital surveillance is possible, and are they taking appropriate professional steps to ensure journalistic independence and protection of sources?
The digital surveillance, then, is a highly complex, abstract and secretive arrangement. It involves citizens, global telecommunications companies, and multiple nations' intelligence agencies, potentially permeating all aspects of our digital lives (Bakir 2015).
Governments say such blanket surveillance is legal, proportionate and necessary to prevent terrorism and organised crime online. While it rarely explains (via the press) how the blanket surveillance actually helps, it seems that there are at least two aspects. Firstly, it allows new threats (concerning criminal or terroristic activity) to be detected, by enabling new targets to be identified (eg through telephone numbers or email addresses) (ISC 2015). Secondly it allows reassembly of specific communications: the way digital information travels around the world (broken up into multiple packets of data and only reassembled at the end destination) requires a 'collect all' mentality to ensure an entire single communication is retrievable intact (RUSI 2015).
2. Is Public Opinion on the debate of privacy v. national security adequately reflected in the press?
3. Is the relationship between intelligence agencies and the press too close?
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. (2015). Snowden surveillance archive. Retrieved from https://snowdenarchive.cjfe.org/greenstone/collect/snowden1/about.html