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[liberationtech] The Future of Security Journalism

Nathan Andrew Fain nathan at
Wed Jan 28 05:17:06 PST 2015

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I don't see your article as a response to Quinn's. Perhaps this is
because Quinn didn't draw any absolute conclusions to the problem
facing journalism. The issue of activism and journalism has become
mixed and is still being discussed. You both come at the issue from
different standpoints.

Quinn's thought that legislation is required to protect this form of
data journalism is optimistic. Sufficient solutions would take a very
long time to formulate and probably not be very workable until
societies have full internalized the shift into a digital world. Until
then activist journalism will continue, a lot of bodies will get piled
up along the way as activist journalists take risks in break news
while institutional journalists have to hold their tongue out of
concern from attribution and watch from the sides.

Quinn ends with "And as that hampers American security and journalism,
I hope that our colleagues overseas can step in and fill the gaps."

International journalists are not in a better position. The legal
framework in some ways is worse than in the US. Specifically in
Germany for information security journalism, it is still against the
law to distribute (host) any code or tool that has an alternate use
that could in the end be used for something illegal [1]. This is
mostly ignored by professionals because in the end, as with press
freedom, this form of speech is a social contract that is not quickly
written away by laws. So it still happens.

International institutions may also benifit from having a smaller
market. Quinn speaks of ceceeding from breaking stories because of
retribution. If the world splits into activist journalists taking the
risk and larger institutions watching, orginizations with smaller
market sit somewhere in the middle. But they can probably only get
away it when the big bad wolf is somewhere else (such as the US). If
Der Spegiel were to come into a Snowden like cache on the BND, or a
Sony like cache for say BMW, they'd run into similar if not more
extreme problems that Quinn is talking about.

I don't think we've advanced to a state yet that the decentralization
of power when it comes to journalism is finished and I think any
framework or laws that a parliament or congress would enact now would
become quickly outdated and perhaps result in malice 5 or 10 years
later. I still value Quinn's desire that at least someone start
thinking about this though, and expressing how this is hindering the
larger players in journalism today. If governments don't at least
attempt to protect them, they'll have to deal with the more open and
less attributable landscape that takes its place.


On 26/01/2015 22:06, J.M. Porup wrote:
> A couple of days ago, Quinn Norton published the following piece:
> We Should All Step Back from Security Journalism I’ll Go First
> Here's my reply:
> Security Journalism, Full Speed Ahead! I’ll Go First
>  JMP
> -- J.M. Porup
Version: GnuPG v1


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