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Book: Information security for journalists - V1.1

With journalist Silkie Carlo I have co-authored a 'handbook' on practical information security for journalists commissioned by the UK Centre for Investigative Journalism. The CIJ handbook 'Information Security for Journalists' was launched at the CIJ Summer School 2014 in London. The book will be forever freely available in a range of electronic formats - see download links below. In the four months after the initial publication in we have rewritten certain parts based on feedback from the initial readers and updated other parts to stay current with the latest software changes. Many thanks to all who gave us valuable feedback.

Altough this book was originally written for investigative journalists most of the described concepts and technical solutions are just as usable by lawyers or advisors protecting communications with their clients, doctors protecting medical privacy and of course politicians, activists or anyone else who engages powerful state and corporate organisations. Really, we're all journalists now. Inside the book is a mailadres for getting in touch, please let us know how your are using it and what we can do better.

If you have reasons to suspect your online movements are already under some form of surveilance you should not download this book using a computer or netwpork associated with your identity (such as your home or work systems).

Several participants of journalist training programs have written articles: Information security for journalists: staying secure online by Alastair Reid (from journalism.co.uk) - A day with the surveillance expert by Jason Murdock, Offtherecord.in - Valentina Novak wrote this interview after a lecture & workshop in Slovenia last November.

On Tuesday July 8th 2014 I was once more a guest on Max Keiser's programme 'The Keiser Report' to discuss the book. Video here on my blog, here on RT site and here on Youtube.

From the 'backflap' of the book:

RT.com interview on 'secure' smartphone apps

On Friday October 17th I was interviewed by Russia Today on the security of 'secure' smartphone apps that turn out to not be so secure. After 18 months of Snowden revelations that should be not news but for the Guardian newspaper it is.

Bankrupting the NSA with Tails & defeating TTIP

On Tuesday July 8th 2014 I was once more a guest on Max Keiser's programme 'The Keiser Report'. Max is a former Wall Street trader who foresaw the current economic crisis a decade ago. On his show he lets rip on the insane financial system and allows his guests to do the same.

Max asked me about the handbook 'Information Security for Journalists' I co-authored with journalist Silkie Carlo. The tools and methods it describes can help is slowing down the NSA by increasing the cost of surveiling individuals by a factor of about 1 million. We also discussed the latest US-inspired attempt-at-corporate-takeover-disquised-as-trade-agreement known as TTIP. I think this wil be defeated in the same way as its smaller precursors ACTA and SOPA before it because it is not in Europe's interest. This will require some serious action on behalf of Europeans since our politicians seem a tad slow in recognising the patterns here.

Full Keiserreport episode here on RT site and here on Youtube.

Book: Information security for journalists

With journalist Silkie Carlo I have co-authored a 'handbook' on practical information security for journalists commissioned by the UK Centre for Investigative Journalism. The CIJ handbook 'Information Security for Journalists' was launched at the CIJ Summer School 2014 last weekend in London. The book will be freely available in electronic format and in print after the summer. Just like last year I gave lectures (slides) and ran a hands-on workshop to get journalists 'tooled-up' so they can better protect their sources, themselves and their stories in a post-Snowden world.

From the 'backflap' of the book:

This handbook is a very important practical tool for journalists. And it is of particular importance to investigative reporters. For the first time journalists are now aware that virtually every electronic communication we make or receive is being recorded, stored and subject to analysis and action. As this surveillance is being conducted in secret, without scrutiny, transparency or any realistic form of accountability, our sources, our stories and our professional work itself is under threat.

After Snowden’s disclosures we know that there are real safeguards and real counter measures available. The CIJ’s latest handbook, Information Security for Journalists, lays out the most effective means of keeping your work private and safe from spying. It explains how to write safely, how to think about security and how to safely receive, store and send information that a government or powerful corporation may be keen for you not to know, to have or to share. To ensure your privacy and the safety of your sources, Information Security for Journalists will help you to make your communications indecipherable, untraceable and anonymous.

Although this handbook is largely about how to use your computer, you don’t need to have a computer science degree to use it. Its authors, and the experts advising the project are ensuring its practical accuracy and usability, and work with the latest technology.

Gavin MacFadyen,
Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism

This handbook is being translated into Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Portugese, Spanish, and other languages

On Tuesday July 8th 2014 I was once more a guest on Max Keiser's programme 'The Keiser Report' to discuss the book. Video here on my blog, here on RT site and here on Youtube.

De andere IT van een ander Nederland

Onderstaande column is het vervolg op een artikel dat ik schreef in de eerste week van het Snowden/NSA schandaal in juni 2013. Waar dat artikel de concrete problemen beschreef beschrijf ik hieronder de andere keuzen de gemaakt hadden kunnen worden en nog steeds gemaakt worden en de voordelen voor Nederland en Europa ten opzicht van het huidige 'beleid'.

Ook gepubliceerd in het Engels op Consortium News en de Huffington Post

De afgelopen 10-15 jaar heeft de IT in Nederland zich niet ontwikkeld in lijn met publieke belangen en het garanderen van grondrechten van de burgers van Nederland. Ook zijn er enorme kansen op het gebied van economische ontwikkeling en werkgelegenheid gemist. Nederland besteedt veel IT uit aan buitenlandse partijen wat niet alleen tientallen miljarden Euro's (1-2% BNP) aan lokale economische groei/werkgelegenheid kost maar de samenleving ook de-facto uitlevert aan buitenlandse spionage op bestuurlijke instanties, bedrijfsleven en alle individuele burgers. Hoewel voor deze risico's al ruim 15 jaar werd gewaarschuwd is dit laatste aspect het afgelopen jaar door de onthullingen van Edward Snowden onweerlegbaar en zijn volle omvang aangetoond. 12 maanden later is er in Nederland geen spoor van een reactie op deze problematiek.

Het had ook anders gekund...

In de eerste 21 maanden van de 21ste eeuw barstte de dotcom bubbel en storten er drie wolkenkrabbers in elkaar in New York. Tussen deze twee gebeurtenissen in verscheen in de zomer van 2001 een grotendeels vergeten rapport aan het Europese Parlement dat de schaal en impact van elektronische spionage beschreef op Europa door de VS en haar 'Echelon' partners (Canada, het VK, Australië en Nieuw Zeeland). Naast een gedetailleerde probleem-analyse gaf het rapport ook concrete voorbeelden van beleidsmaatregelen op IT gebied die overheden konden nemen om buitenlandse inlichtingendiensten het bespioneren van Europa een stuk moeilijker te maken.

In dezelfde periode had de Amerikaanse overheid had een van de grootste anti-trust zaken in haar geschiedenis, tegen Microsoft, gewonnen en de EU was naar aanleiding van deze overwinning een vergelijkbare zaak gestart die ook tot een veroordeling en de hoogste boete in de geschiedenis van de EU zou leiden.

Het was tegen deze achtergrond dat het nadenken over de strategische versus operationele aspecten van IT in de publieke sector veranderde. Het rapport over Echelon maakte duidelijk dat het reduceren van IT tot een instrumentele zaak rampzalige consequenties had op de soevereiniteit van Europese staten te opzichte van, met name, de VS (en wellicht in de toekomst China, andere technisch capabele landen of niet-statelijke organisaties). Ook de economische gevolgen van industriële spionage tegen bedrijven werd een punt van zorg voor de overheid.