Journalists Generally Do Not Use Secure Communication
This should come as no surprise:
Alas, our findings suggest that secure communications haven’t yet attracted mass adoption among journalists. We looked at 2,515 Washington journalists with permanent credentials to cover Congress, and we found only 2.5 percent of them solicit end-to-end encrypted communication via their Twitter bios. That’s just 62 out of all the broadcast, newspaper, wire service, and digital reporters. Just 28 list a way to reach them via Signal or another secure messaging app. Only 22 provide a PGP public key, a method that allows sources to send encrypted messages. A paltry seven advertise a secure email address. In an era when anything that can be hacked will be and when the president has declared outright war on the media, this should serve as a frightening wake-up call.
When journalists don’t step up, sources with sensitive information face the burden of using riskier modes of communication to initiate contact—and possibly conduct all of their exchanges—with reporters. It increases their chances of getting caught, putting them in danger of losing their job or facing prosecution. It’s burden enough to make them think twice about whistleblowing.
I forgive them for not using secure e-mail. It’s hard to use and confusing. But secure messaging is easy.
Leave a comment