The Effects of Mass Surveillance on Journalism

October 10, 2013 by

Mass surveillance of the kind practiced by the NSA produces a chilling effect on journalism, because sources do not feel they can have a private conversation with a reporter. That’s the message of a group of scholars, journalists, and researchers from Columbia Journalism School and the MIT Center for Civic Media, in a public comment to the Review Group on Intelligence and Communication Technologies convened by President Obama.

The 15 page letter argues that mass surveillance is harmful to journalism and incompatible with existing law and policy. It goes on to document recent chilling effects, showing that real harm has already occurred.

“Put plainly, what the NSA is doing is incompatible with the existing law and policy protecting the confidentiality of journalist-­‐source communications. This is not merely an incompatibility in spirit, but a series of specific and serious discrepancies between the activities of the intelligence community and existing law, policy, and practice in the rest of the government. Further, the climate of secrecy around mass surveillance activities is itself actively harmful to journalism, as sources cannot know when they might be monitored, or how intercepted information might be used against them.”

The letter documents how NSA’s domestic phone and internet surveillance activities contradict recent Department of Justice policy. The DoJ released new guidelines regarding access to reporter-source communication records in July, after a review prompted by the secret seizure of records for 20 Associated Press phone lines. The new guidelines say that “the Department views the use of tools to seek evidence from or involving the news media as an extraordinary measure” and requires advance notification to journalists in most cases, to give them the opportunity to contest the matter. It also requires Attorney General approval for searches and seizures.

The NSA operates with far greater latitude. It preemptively collects and archives the records of all calls made to or by journalists, effectively bypassing both the notice and the authorization provisions of the DoJ policy. The NSA operates under “minimization” procedures designed to protect the confidentiality of Americans’ communications obtained by warrantless surveillance, but these rules contain an important exception: the NSA can report many different types of crimes to law enforcement authorities.

The letter argues that this double standard is intolerable: “there must be one set of rules, and those rules must protect journalist-­‐source communications.” The authors also reject the logic of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when it asserts that collecting information on everyone is no different, from a privacy point of view, than collecting information on specific individuals.

“The surveillance of essentially everyone has effects far beyond the surveillance of journalists alone. … For a free press to function we must also protect the means of communicating with a journalist. At the present time, the NSA has made private electronic communication essentially impossible.”

This state of affairs has made sources nervous about talking to reporters. Journalists from news organizations including the Associated Press, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Center for Public Integrity have recently reported chilling effects. As quoted in a newly released report of the Committee To Protect Journalists, New York Times national security reporter Scott Shane describes the problem:

“There’s a gray zone between classified and unclassified information, and most sources were in that gray zone. Sources are now afraid to enter that gray zone. It’s having a deterrent effect. If we consider aggressive press coverage of government activities being at the core of American democracy, this tips the balance heavily in favor of the government.”

Mass surveillance is not merely a theoretical risk to a free press, but has real consequences that are already preventing journalists from doing their job.

The comment was prepared by a group of  journalists and scholars with experience in investigative journalism, online media, and data mining, including Tow Center Director Emily Bell, Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism Director Sheila Coronel, Tow Center Fellow Jonathan Stray, and Professor Michael Schudson of Columbia Journalism School, and Ethan Zuckerman, Director of the MIT Center For Civic Media.

Category: Past Events, Research

22 Comments

Devid Afanador Sep 17, 2014
thank you very much for post. www.visec.net/index.php Watch your Home or office,Video Surveillance,Web cam surveillance, Live video of your home, protect family, surveillance software
xiaozhengmmm Sep 05, 2014
jordan retro cheap ray bans cheap jerseys michael kors backpack true religion jeans ray ban aviators louis vuitton speedy tory burch flats cheap louis vuitton nfl football jerseys cheap jerseys bottega veneta bags louis vuitton backpack fitflop shoes louis vuitton fendi true religion jeans outlet hermes belt coach outlet cheap jordans ray ban sunglasses outlet michael kors outlet louis vuitton belt prda outlet louis vuitton handbags louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton louis vuitton purses louis vuitton speedy red shoes michael kors factory outlet fitflop sandals louis vuitton purses mont blanc fountain pens jordan 11 red heels coach outlet store online true religion outlet store red bottoms bottega veneta handbags coach outlet polo outlet bottega veneta outlet coach factory outlet celine paris hermes birkin insanity workout ray bans coach outlet cheap toms tory burch outlet air jordan shoes coach factory online oakley suglasses cheap tory burch shoes ray ban outlet jordan 13 true religion outlet louis vuitton handbags christian louboutin celine luggage tote celine bag price michael kors outlet online kate spade handbags true religion jeans kate spade handbags gucci shoes chanel bags christian louboutin sneakers mont blanc pens coach factory online coach factory oakley sunglasses cheap oakleys coach factory outlet hair straightener louis vuitton outlet fendi handbags fendi purses jordan shoes coach factory outlet online abercrombie and fitch louis vuitton wallet marc jacobs fitflop footwear ray ban wayfarer michael kors outlet stores fitflops clearance marc by marc jacobs true religion outlet louis vuitton handbags fitflop outlet toms shoes sale louis vuitton purses kate spade outlet store juicy couture outlet hermes delivery prada shoes coach factory online louis vuitton bags louis vuitton handbags louis vuitton toms outlet true religion jeans outlet christian louboutin sale tory burch outlet online gucci handbags louis vuitton fitflop outlet louis vuitton usa joe abercrombie fitflop outlet christian louboutin shoes juicy couture perfume louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton bags toms shoes ray ban sunglasses viva la juicy fitflop sandals outlet trye religion outlet kate spade factory outlet true religion sale crossfit workouts jordan retro cheap jordans louis vuitton bags ray ban sunglasses louis vuitton outlet mont blanc pens bottega veneta louis vuitton belts ray bans louis vuitton shoes toms shoes outlet trye religion outlet store louis vuitton outlet jordan for women louis vuitton purses ray ban glasses ray ban outlet louis vuitton uk toms wedges celine outlet oakley sunglasses wholesale oakley sunglasses coach factory outlet abercrombie michael kors outlet online fitflop shoes football jersey hollister kids chanel online shop cheap nfl jerseys kate spade purses ray ban sunglasses fitflops michael kors handbasg ralph lauren outlet toms promo code oakley outlet marc jacobs handbags fitflop footwear coach outlet store online cheap oakley sunglasses coach factory celine handbags ray ban outlet stores michael kors handbags mont blanc fountain pen michael kors outlet stores used louis vuitton true religion jeans coach outlet store online michaelkors outlet store tory burch outlet online louis vuitton purses kate spade outlet coach outlet store online louis vuitton louis vuitton handbags trye religion outlet official coach factory outlet prada handbags p90x workout schedule kate spade outlet online nfl jerseys wholesale fitflop sale official coach factory outlet online ralph lauren home hollister co true religion jeans nfl jerseys louis vuitton outlet store michael kors bags michael kors handbags hermes outlet burberry handbags chanel handbags cheap ray ban sunglasses michael kors outlet coach factory outlet michael kors handbags burberry bags mont blanc pen coach factory online coach factory outlet online christian louboutin shoes michael kors outlet online chi flat iron true religion jeans men chanel outlet red bottom shoes cheap true religion jeans louis vuitton outlet store hollister clothing coach factory outlet louis vuitton outlet stores gucci outlet kate spade coach outlet cheap jordans louis vuitton purses mont blanc mountain coach factory online designer handbags louis vuitton handbags jordan sneakers michael kors outlet louis vuitton outlet michael kors outlet coach outlet christian louboutin outlet michael kors outlet louboutin tory burch outlet fendi outlet nfl jerseys coach outlet jordan shoes oakley sunglasses wholesale tory burch shoes michael kors handbags louisvuitton michael kors outlet store burberry outlet toms outlet toms shoes tory burch flats gucci outlet store ralph lauren fitflops clearance coach outlet stores gucci bags abercrombie fitch louis vuitton neverfull cheap nfljerseys chi hair straightener chi straightener michael kors purses louis vuitton wallet jordans for sale marc jacobs outlet christian louboutin outlet true religion jeans outlet fendi bags true religion michael kors outlet online hermes bracelet louboutin shoes coach factory outlet ray ban sunglasses wholesale kate spade louis vuitton outlet abercrombie and kent oakley outlet tory burch handbags workout routines polo ralph lauren louis vuitton outlet fitflops online coach factory mont blanc legend louis vuitton officail website workout plans kate spade outlet ab workouts bottega veneta outlet online true religion mont blanc pen prada bags louis vuitton bags cheap jerseys from china christian louboutin hollister outlet toms sale louis vuitton sunglasses burberry scarf louis vuitton handbags jordan shoes louis vuitton outlet www.louisvuitton.com hollister promo code mont blanc legend juicy couture hair dryer oakley glasses louis vuitton outlet stores cheap jordan for sale
Devid Afanador Sep 01, 2014
am doing a project and this information is very useful me www.visec.net/index.php Watch your Home or office,Video Surveillance,Web cam surveillance, Live video of your home, protect family, surveillance software.
asmaa mahmoud Jul 26, 2014
شركة تنظيف بالدمام شركة نقل أثاث بالدمام شركة تنظيف بالدمام نقل عفش الدمام شركة تخزين اثاث بالدمام شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام تخزين عفش بالدمام شركة تخزين اثاث بالدمام شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام نقل عفش جدة نقل عفش مكة شركة نقل عفش بالطائف نقل اثاث بجدة نقل عفش جدة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة شركة تخزين عفش بالمدينة المنورة شركات نقل الموبيليا فى القاهرة شركة نقل اثاث بالمنصورة شركة نقل اثاث بأبوقير شركة نقل اثاث بالمعادى شركة نقل اثاث فى مدينة نصر شركة نقل اثاث بمدينتى شركة نقل اثاث بالتجمع شركات نقل الاثاث بالرحاب شركة نقل عفش بالقاهرة شركة نقل أثاث برماح شركة نقل أثاث بالمزاحمية شركة نقل أثاث بالدلم شركة تخزين أثاث بالدلم شركة تخزين اثاث بالمجمعة شركة نقل اثاث بالمنصورة شركة نقل اثاث بالهفوف نقل عفش الدمام شركة تخزين اثاث بالدمام شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام تخزين عفش بالدمام شركة تخزين اثاث بالدمام شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام نقل عفش جدة نقل عفش مكة شركة نقل عفش بالطائف نقل اثاث بجدة نقل عفش جدة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة شركة تخزين عفش بالمدينة المنورة شركات نقل الموبيليا فى القاهرة شركة نقل اثاث بالمنصورة شركة نقل اثاث بأبوقير شركة نقل اثاث بالمعادى شركة نقل اثاث فى مدينة نصر شركة نقل اثاث بمدينتى شركة نقل اثاث بالتجمع شركات نقل الاثاث بالرحاب شركة نقل عفش بالقاهرة شركة نقل أثاث برماح شركة نقل أثاث بالمزاحمية شركة نقل أثاث بالدلم شركة تخزين أثاث بالدلم شركة تخزين اثاث بالمجمعة شركة نقل اثاث بالمنصورة شركة نقل اثاث بالهفوف افضل شركة شحن فى مصر شركة تشطيبات وديكور داخلى اعمال جسات تصميم شقق ديكورات مطابخ واجهات عمائر ايجار سيارات فى شرم الشيخ ايجار سيارات فى مدينة نصر مركز صيانة ايديال زانوسى شركات تأجير السيارات بالاسكندرية ايجار سيارات فى طنطا تأجير سيارات لشركات بترول شركة صيانة منازل بجدة ايجار سيارات زفاف بالاسكندرية صيانة غسالة ايديال زانوسى صيانة زانوسى الاسكندرية شركة تشطيبات تشطيبات شقق شركة ديكور شركة تنظيف فلل بالدمام شركه تنظيف موكيت بالدمام شركة تنظيف شقق بالدمام شركه تنظيف منازل بالدمام شركة تنظيف بالدمام شركة تنظيف خزانات بالدمام شركة تنظيف بالدمام شركة تنظيف فلل بالدمام شركة تنظيف منازل بالدمام شركة تنظيف شقق بالدمام شركة تنظيف خزانات بمكة شركة تنظيف خزانات بالطائف شركة تنظيف منازل بمكة شركة تنظيف بجدة شركة تنظيف منازل بجدة شركة تنظيف فلل بجدة شركة تنظيف شقق بجدة شركة تنظيف موكيت بجدة شركة تنظيف مسابح بجدة شركة تنظيف مجالس بجدة شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمديمة المنورة شركة تنظيف بالمدينة المنورة تنظيب مجالس جدة شركة تنظيف مسابح بجدة شركة تنظيف مجالس بجدة شركة تنظيف موكيت بجدة شركة تنظيف شقق بجدة شركة تنظيف فلل بجدة شركات تنظيف المنازل في جدة شركة تنظيف بجدة تنظيف شقق بالمدينة المنورة شركة تنظيف بيارات بضرما شركة تنظيف بيارات بالمجمعة شركة تنظيف بيارات بضرماء شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام شركة رش مبيدات بالدمام شركة تسليك مجارى بالدمام شركة رش مبيدات بالدمام شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام شركة مكافحة حشرات بمكه شركة مكافحة حشرات بالطائف شركة رش مبيدات بمكة شركة تسليك مجارى بجدة كشف تسربات المياه بجدة شركة مكافحة الحشرات فى جدة شركات رش المبيدات الحشرية بحدة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة شركة رش مبيدات بالمدينة المنورة غسيل خزانات بالمدينة المنورة شرك مكافحة حشرات ورش مبيدات بشقراء شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالمزاحمية شركة تسليك مجاري برماح شركة مكافحة حشرات ورش مبيدات برماح شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدلم مكافحة البق بجدة شركة مكافحة حشرات الفراش بجدة شركة ابادة حشرات الدمام رش مبيدات حشرية بالدمام شركة مكافحة الصراصير بالدمام شركة مكافحة افات المخازن بالمدينة المنورة شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالدمام شركة مكافحة البق بالمدينة المنورة شركة عزل أسطح بضرما شركة عزل أسطح بالدلم شركة عزل أسطح بشقراء شركة عزل أسطح بالمزاحمية شركة عزل خزانات بالمزاحمية شركة عزل اسطح بالمدينة المنورة
huangxiaoxianhuangxiaoxian Jul 16, 2014
It only requires nike air max a burberry outlet online handful rolex watches of ferragamo outlet seconds cheap oakley sunglasses but nike air max will coach factory outlet make gucci managing your project north face outlet a lot less difficult. When you're prepared hogan to p90x workout commence tory burch outlet your juicy couture session hermes belt switch polo ralph lauren outlet on nike free the converse shoes answering true religion machine hogan (if you have nike air max one nike air max particular) vans pas cher and reduce the nike air max ring tone volume. Microphones can't rayban b excluded longchamp handbags from your sound bottega veneta system rental louboutin checklist. louis vuitton When vehicles rayban switched louboutin to oakley sunglasses cheap 12-volt herve leger batteries, the louis vuitton bags very oakley sunglasses same coach bags arrangement was louis vuitton applied, with nike air max tubes with 12-volt coach outlet store heaters. hollister When utilized chanel bags for toms shoes reside performances, oakley the michael kors outlet signal created ralph lauren pas cher by soccer jerseys the karen millen mixer ralph lauren uk will generally coach factory outlet be jimmy choo sent louboutin straight jerseys to an louis vuitton amplifier, louboutin unless nike air max that jordan retro certain oakley mixer is celine handbags "powered" or nike air max it ray ban sunglasses is montre femme becoming connected to powered speakers. ghd hair Other longchamps accessories longchamps that lululemon canada can be asics running employed reebok skyscape with ralph lauren outlet microphones are boom stands, mulberry pop filters, mounts, nike mercurial transformers, nike factory stand prada outlet arms valentinos and lululemon outlet wind ray ban sunglasses screens. nike uk It michael kors handbags is timberland attainable coach factory you montblanc will true religion outlet finish up nike air max paying true religion outlet much insanity workout more supra for sale for your marc jacobs installation chi hair then ray ban the actual stereo new balance shoes if you mcm bags are lancel not cautious.
Blackberry spy software Jul 07, 2014
Yeah Journalism has some reservation on surveillance especially the NSA doing on it's media and neighbor countries. Recently an American NSA agent caught in Berlin for spying on German authorities and how insane it is. Ain't ? I've posted about this news and read for more information here Blackberry spy software
coach factory outlet Jun 16, 2014
michael kors outlet louis vuitton outlet coach outlet cheap oakley sunglasses oakley sunglasses outlet louis vuitton handbags coach factory outlet coach outlet store online coach factory michael kors outlet online coach outlet prada outlet air jordan true religion jeans coach factory outlet louis vuitton outlet coach factory outlet oakley sunglasses michael kors coach factory outlet prada handbags coach outlet louis vuitton handbags cheap oakley sunglasses cheap jordan true religion jeans outlet louis vuitton coach factory coach store online coach factory online michael kors outlet coachfactory.com coach factory outlet prada handbags michael kors outlet coach outlet store online coach outlet valentino valentino shoes louis vuitton outlet coach outlet online coach factory outlet online isabel marant Shoes coach outlet store online timberland boots coach outlet oakley sunglasses coach outlet online coachfactory.com true religion outlet coach outlet coach outlet store online coach factory coach factory outlet timberland shoes true religion outlet coach outlet store online coach outlet coach factory coach factory outlet true religion coach outlet store online true religion jeans coach factory louis vuitton coach factory outlet michael kors outlet coach factory outlet polo ralph lauren coach outlet store online tiffany and co coach factory outlet coach outlet online michael kors outlet online coach outlet online coach factory outlet online celine outlet cheap toms coach outlet celine handbags marc jacobs outlet michael kors purses coach outlet ralph lauren coach factory outlet toms shoes coach outlet online supra shoes coach outlet fitflop outlet tiffany jewelry tiffany and co coach factory michael kors outlet online coach outlet michael kors outlet store marc jacobs celine bags coach factory outlet coach handbags outlet timberland boots michael kors factory outlet fitflops coach factory outlet toms shoes louis vuitton handbags oakley sunglasses cheap prada factory
Paul - surveillance expert Oct 21, 2013
Isnt it a case sometimes though that the press need to be reigned in a little?

Post a comment

We're trying to advance the conversation, and we trust that you will, too. We'd rather not moderate, but we will remove any comments that are blatantly inflammatory or inappropriate. Let it fly, but keep it clean. Thanks.