June 19, 2012 Leave a comment
Stories about leaked data, digital security breaches and computer viruses that can snoop, snitch and spy fill news media on a weekly basis. A tipping point has been reached. As an increasingly digital society, we must acknowledge that our carefree days of naively entrusting information to the internet are over.
Bolstering the security of legal and financial records is at the forefront of public awareness in the digital ecosystem. One of the many awesome features of digital technology, which is often overlooked, is our ability to self-govern it. Just as driving a car can be made safer if you switch off your mobile phone and allow your voicemail and SMS storage to do their job, critical information that you enter into digital space can be easily made safe by adding a few steps to secure your data.
For journalists, protecting the digital footprint of their work has never been more important. Reporters must consider that securing not only their personal data but also that which contains information on witnesses, locations, fixers, sources and privileged facts can be a matter of life or death. Chilling stories from Syria and Iran illustrate situations where journalists’ confidential information was used by government forces to arrest and torture interview subjects. The old adage ‘every speaker is a microphone’ has never been more true; when we use the World Wide Web we are broadcasting myriad facts about our location and activities, and may even be broadcasting the very keystrokes of our writing.