The Reporters Committee urged a federal court on Friday to deny the Trump administrations request for an emergency order that would block the publication and disseminationof a highly anticipated memoir written by former National Security Adviser John Bolton. In afriend-of-the-court brief filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Reporters Committee argued that the requested injunction amounts to an unconstitutional prior restraint.
Such an extraordinarily broad injunction would be a clear prior restraint that violates long-settled constitutional law,said Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The court must reject this effort to censor the free flow of information to the public about government activities.
On Saturday, a federal judgedenied the governments request.
Heres what the staff of the Technology and Press Freedom Project at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is tracking this week.
After a journalist contacted The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto in 2017 about a suspicious phishing attempt, researchers recently uncovered a huge hack-for-hire operation, dubbedDark Basin,that targeted thousands of people in journalism, business, banking, law, and especially the nonprofit sector.
Researchers linked Dark Basin to BellTroX InfoTech Services, an Indian tech firm owned by Sumit Gupta. Gupta, who in 2015 wasindicted on federal hacking chargesin California,denied the allegationsin an interview with Reuters.
Dark Basin targeted a range of organizations and, in several cases, the journalists connected to them. For example, hackers attempted to infiltrate American environmental advocacy groups, including the Rockefeller Family Fund, Greenpeace, and350.org, as well as multiple major US media outlets who covered the groups work on the#ExxonKnew climate change campaign. The hackers also targeted Free Press and Fight for the Future, organizations that advocate for open internet policies.
Other targets included financial and business journalists covering irregularities at the German company Wirecard AG, along with hedge funds, investigators and short sellers connected to the investigation. According to some of the targets, the hackers obtained and altered emails, including correspondence between journalists and sources. These were then published on various platforms as part of a leaks campaign.
In addition to these campaigns, researchers found Dark Basin targeted lawyers, government officials, oligarchs, and energy executives, all with varying degrees of sophistication. The hackers made numerous phishing attempts by sending emails from custom URL shorteners. Some of the phishing emails imitated colleagues, while others were disguised as horoscopes or pornographic websites.
In our investigation, we determined that hiring hackers may be a relatively common practice for many private investigators, John Scott-Railton, the reports lead author,told the New York Times. The sheer scale of it is remarkable to us.
Despite the danger, a recentreport by the Tow Center for Digital Journalismfound that many journalists are not particularly careful with their digital security. In newsrooms short on time and money, digital security may seem like an unnecessary burden, and some journalists believe as long as they are not covering sensitive topics they will not be targeted. Often newsrooms that adopt security protocols do so informally, with some journalists becoming trainers for others.
This episode highlights the information security risks for journalists, and the continuing need for threat modeling and appropriate security protections in newsrooms.
A San Francisco policememo obtained by the Reporters Committeethrough a public records request last week revealed that officers were instructed not to use body-worn cameras during last years illegal raid of journalist Bryan Carmodys home because the video footage could compromise the confidential investigation. All five search warrants, some of which targeted Carmodys phone records, were laterdeemed illegalunder Californiasshield law. In March, the city of San Franciscoagreed to pay Carmody $369,000to settle with him.
The New York City Councilenactedalawrequiring the New York Police Department to share with the public its surveillance tools and any privacy safeguards it employs to protect the rights of citizens. The Brennan Center for Justice has alreadycataloguedmany of the ways the NYPD surveils residents, including with the use of facial recognition technology and social media monitoring.
On Monday, Filipino journalists Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos Jr.were convicted of cyber libelfor a story they published in Rappler, a Philippines-based news outlet that Ressa founded. Look for further analysis next week on the implications of cyber libel claims for journalists globally.
Six former eBay employeesare facing federal chargesfor allegedly harassing a husband and wife who published an e-commerce newsletter. The Department of Justice alleges the ex-employees retaliated against the couple for negative coverage of eBay by threatening them through Twitter, then sending them a bloody pig mask, a box of cockroaches, pornography, and a funeral wreath, among other objects. eBay said all six employees were fired in September 2019.
Twitter recentlyaskeda Virginia judge for the second time to dismiss the defamation claims brought against it by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) involving two anonymous parody accounts and other tweets. Lawyers for the social media company saidSection 230 of the Communications Decency Actprovides immunity from Nunes claims.
The Trump campaigndemandedthat CNN retract and apologize for a recent poll that showed him lagging behind presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, though the network refused to do so.
An internal CIAreport, published in 2017 after former CIA analyst Joshua Schulte wasaccusedof leaking material about the agencys hacking tools to WikiLeaks, found the cybersecurity of its elite hacking unit lacking. Schultes attorneys noted this in his trial earlier this year, pointing out that other employees could have accessed and downloaded the leaked data. Jurorsdeadlockedon whether Schulte provided the material to WikiLeaks.
The director and deputy director of Voice of Americaresignedlast week after congress confirmed Michael Pack, a conservative activist, as the new leader of the agency that oversees the federally funded news service. Their departures followWhite House criticism of VOAand news last Sunday that the Centers for Disease Control and Preventioninstructed communications staffto ignore media requests from the outlet.
According torecently published reportsby Gallup and the Knight Foundation, 74% of Americans are very concerned about the spread of misinformation on the internet. The reports present other data, including numbers on how Americans view technology companies and content moderation.
Gif of the Week:To all the dads out there: Thanks for putting up with us always being on our phones and Happy Fathers Day!
Like what youve read?Sign up to get This Week in Technology + Press Freedom delivered straight to your inbox!
The Technology and Press Freedom Project at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press uses integrated advocacy combining the law, policy analysis, and public education to defend and promote press rights on issues at the intersection of technology and press freedom, such as reporter-source confidentiality protections, electronic surveillance law and policy, and content regulation online and in other media. TPFP is directed by Reporters Committee Attorney Gabe Rottman. He works with Stanton Foundation National Security/Free Press Fellow Linda Moon, Legal Fellows Jordan Murov-Goodman and Lyndsey Wajert, Policy Interns Abe Kenmore and Joey Oteng, and Legal Intern Sasha Peters.
- Letter: Marlboro's Degrees of Freedom can thrive - with innovation, collaboration - Brattleboro Reformer - August 2nd, 2020
- 'Freedom' rally in Twin Falls decries moderate Republicans, public education, masks and the media - bigcountrynewsconnection.com - August 2nd, 2020
- When it comes to freedom of the press, it is 'problematic' in many of the richest countries across the world - USA TODAY - August 2nd, 2020
- Editors opened the doors to Freedom School, then even wider as magazine of black thought - Cambridge Day - August 2nd, 2020
- Introduction to the Freedom of Information Act | News, Sports, Jobs - Daily Mining Gazette - August 2nd, 2020
- Memorial honors families that have paid the ultimate price for America's freedom - Standard-Examiner - August 2nd, 2020
- 'It's the freedom of it': Bikers rally in Stateline ahead of Sturgis, unconcerned about virus - The Spokesman-Review - August 2nd, 2020
- 120 alerts in 4 months: Severe threats to press freedom across Europe - IFEX - August 2nd, 2020
- As feds attacks freedom, where's the right wing? - Santa Fe New Mexican - August 2nd, 2020
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Doing the Opposite of 'Finding Freedom' - The Daily Beast - August 2nd, 2020
- Weve Neglected the Freedom of Assembly for Years Before Portland - Slate - August 2nd, 2020
- Did President Obama Award Jeffrey Epstein the Medal of Freedom? - Snopes.com - August 2nd, 2020
- Virtual NAACP Convention to kick off locally with "Freedom Weekend" - Dorchester Reporter - August 2nd, 2020
- Is the singers' freedom of expression absolute? - Annapurna Express - August 2nd, 2020
- Freedom goes hand in hand with restraint - Daily Nation - August 2nd, 2020
- Why Saifuddin Sozs Failure to Secure Freedom from 'House Arrest' Should Concern Us All - The Wire - August 2nd, 2020
- A community conversation on race and freedom - PAHomePage.com - August 2nd, 2020
- Sozs detention: Calling it freedom may be stretching law to breaking - The Times of India Blog - August 2nd, 2020
- Finding Freedom: 10 things we learned from Harry and Meghan's book - The Guardian - August 2nd, 2020
- Coronavirus Cases On The Rise In Italy. Freedom Does Not Mean Infecting Others - Forbes - July 31st, 2020
- Freedom Schools come to Wilmington, here's what the program is all about [Free read] - Port City Daily - July 31st, 2020
- Internet freedom is in imminent danger, claims Twitter boss Jack Dorsey in attack on other tech companies - The Independent - July 31st, 2020
- Hugo Spotlight: Ted Chiang's Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom Transforms the Familiar - tor.com - July 31st, 2020
- Captain Sir Tom Moore receives honorary freedom of his home town - shropshirestar.com - July 31st, 2020
- A Scary Fact Found in a Gun Survey on the Upcoming Election - America's 1st Freedom - July 31st, 2020
- Secret passageways and freedom roads: Remnants of the Underground Railroad in NC - WRAL.com - July 31st, 2020
- Award-Winning IPhone Photos Capture Global Scenes Of Freedom And Serenity : Goats and Soda - NPR - July 31st, 2020
- 155 Years of Black Freedom - Columbia Business Times - July 31st, 2020
- Fear of speech is replacing freedom of speech - The Boston Globe - July 31st, 2020
- "Freedom Festival" is planned this weekend - The Ellsworth American - July 31st, 2020
- Freedom worth fighting for right here in America - Times Union - July 31st, 2020
- TCW's Brexit Watch: Are we heading for a fake freedom? - The Conservative Woman - July 31st, 2020
- John Lewis: 'Now it is your turn to let freedom ring' | TheHill - The Hill - July 31st, 2020
- The Hard Right is a Far Greater Threat to Freedom of Speech than 'Cancel Culture' - Byline Times - July 31st, 2020
- On the internet, freedom for some never means freedom for all - The Spinoff - July 31st, 2020
- Freedom of the great outdoors - Farm and Dairy - July 31st, 2020
- The distance ahead: John Lewis, Gov. John Patterson and the challenges of reconciliation - Montgomery Advertiser - July 31st, 2020
- Joe Rogan is Moving to Texas, Says There's More Freedom There - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - July 30th, 2020
- Opinion: Turkey closing window on press freedom - DW (English) - July 30th, 2020
- THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: Freedoms Davis adds to banner year - Morganton News Herald - July 30th, 2020
- Two years after Janus, more workers are exercising their freedom of association - San Bernardino County Sun - July 30th, 2020
- Freedom of speech is a right, but is there a line drawn for teachers - MyFoxZone.com KIDY - July 30th, 2020
- Berta Cceres in her own words - Toward Freedom - July 30th, 2020
- Letters: An alarming threat to our freedom to speak freely - HeraldScotland - July 30th, 2020
- How the automobile is giving us back our freedom in the summer of COVID-19 - Driving - July 30th, 2020
- Weekend Protest Round-Up: Massive Crowds, Unpredictable Tear Gas, More Freedom for the Press - The Portland Mercury - July 30th, 2020
- Freedom Healthy Cooking Oils Launches a campaign #Immunity begins in the Kitchen - PR Newswire India - July 29th, 2020
- Guest editorial: Mask-wearing protects freedom and the economy - Lewiston Morning Tribune - July 29th, 2020
- The Venus in Scorpio finds freedom with new single Roam - CelebMix - July 29th, 2020
- NLRB Decision Gives Employers More Freedom to Address Offensive and Abusive Conduct - JD Supra - July 29th, 2020
- What Prince William Thinks of the New Finding Freedom Book About the Royal Family - Us Weekly - July 29th, 2020
- Religious freedom is no reason to deny people with disabilities the right to equality in the workplace | TheHill - The Hill - July 29th, 2020
- Repealing Ohio's CAT Will Enhance Economic Freedom and Opportunity - Buckeye Institute - July 29th, 2020
- Portrait of an Artist: Jozimar Matimano paints in the colors of freedom - Manchester Ink Link - July 29th, 2020
- Finding Freedom book extracts claim to tell Harry and Meghan's story, but they say they weren't involved - ABC News - July 29th, 2020
- How the Supreme Court's Expansion of Freedom of Religion Makes Its Decision on the Rights of Gays and Transsexuals Possible - Mosaic - July 28th, 2020
- Finding Freedom: Everything we've learned so far from upcoming biography of Harry and Meghan - The Independent - July 27th, 2020
- For his next trick, the showman might make freedom disappear | Column - Tampa Bay Times - July 27th, 2020
- Halo Infinite Is Halo CE with Walls Knocked Down and Freedom to Explore, Says Dev - Wccftech - July 27th, 2020
- We Can Either Fight This Thing, Or Starve: Texas Bars Open Illegally As Part Of Freedom Fest - CBS Dallas / Fort Worth - July 27th, 2020
- Risk aversion in Special Operations: When aid workers have more freedom in a combat zone - SOFREP - July 27th, 2020
- Freedom of the Press | Columnists | islandernews.com - Islander News.com - July 27th, 2020
- In Pictures: Activists around the world stage Fridays for Freedom protests in solidarity with Hong Kong pro-democracy movement - Hong Kong Free Press - July 27th, 2020
- Juvenile lifer gets second chance at freedom 30 years later - WXII The Triad - July 27th, 2020
- PBS Streams Award-Winning Freedom Riders Documentary To Honor Memory Of Rep. John Lewis And Rev. C. T. Vivian - Forbes - July 27th, 2020
- In Pennsylvania, fight against wearing masks involves some key Republicans, and liberty - York Daily Record - July 27th, 2020
- This Is How The End Of Freedom Starts, According To New Political Ad 07/21/2020 - MediaPost Communications - July 27th, 2020
- Unalienable Rights and the Securing of Freedom | US Embassy & Consulate in Kazakhstan - US Embassy and Consulate in Kazakhstan - July 26th, 2020
- Freedom of the Press | Columnists - Islander News.com - July 26th, 2020
- NZ has become 'too blas' about its hard-won freedom from Covid - Stuff.co.nz - July 26th, 2020
- 'Finding Freedom' suggests the Sussexes have not yet burned their bridges - Telegraph.co.uk - July 26th, 2020
- Freedom rally at Capitol blasts Governor Wolfs handling of coronavirus - ABC27 - July 26th, 2020
- Love of freedom is the missing ingredient in this Tory government - Telegraph.co.uk - July 26th, 2020
- Freedom at last: Roosevelt Myles released after 28 years behind bars | The Crusader Newspaper Group - The Chicago Cusader - July 25th, 2020
- Letter to the Editor: Overreaching laws are taking away our freedom - - New Kent - Charles City Chronicle - July 25th, 2020
- SNP's hate crime bill poses 'grave threat' to the freedom of the press and risks 'society of fear' - Telegraph.co.uk - July 25th, 2020
- Joe Rogan is leaving Los Angeles and moving to Texas because there's more freedom there - TheBlaze - July 25th, 2020
- The freedom to speak and criticize - Yellowhammer News - Yellowhammer News - July 25th, 2020
- Excerpts from Harry and Meghan`s New Book, Finding Freedom- Sensational New Biography on the Royals - Euro Weekly News - July 25th, 2020
- Group gathers in Lynchburg Saturday afternoon for freedom walk, rally to bear arms - WFXRtv.com - July 25th, 2020