News Organizations and Digital Security: Solutions to Surveillance Post-Snowden


Join The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, New America’s Open Technology Institute and Freedom of the Press Foundation for a full day digital security summit that will explore the threats posed to independent newsgathering and the First Amendment by widespread government surveillance, and the tools available to news organizations and reporters to combat those threats.

Participate in detailed discussions and breakout sessions led by journalism, legal and security experts, and enjoy a screening of Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’s new documentary film about Edward Snowden’s decision to leak NSA documents to the news media.

This event is made possible by the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and Open Society Foundations.


9:00 am Real-World Encryption Problems

Leak investigations are at a record high and national security journalists now often work under a shadow of surveillance. By knowing the stakes and how to respond to them, reporters can assess the risks, and still keep their sources relatively safe. This panel will discuss current and future unsolved digital security problems in journalism.

Dana Priest (invited) Investigative Reporter, The Washington Post
John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland (invited)

James Risen
Investigative Reporter, The New York Times

Christopher Soghoian
Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, ACLU

10:15 am Beyond PGP, Protecting Reporters on an Institutional Level.

Beyond encrypting individual email, panelists will look at the importance of utilizing the right systems company-wide to stave off hacking and other cyberattacks, as well as handing subpoenas and safeguarding sources.

Martin Baron
Executive editor, The Washington Post (invited)

Morgan Marquis-Boire
Director of Security, First Look Media

Jack Gillum
Reporter, Associated Press

Nabiha Syed
Associate, Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz.

11:30 am Breakout Sessions:

Using Off the Record (OTR) Chat

Attendees are encouraged to bring their laptops for this hands-on session on how to set up OTR encryption to protect sources.

Setting up PGP mail encryption

Attendees should bring their laptops for this tutorial on how PGP works and how to set it up for secure electronic communications.

Demonstration of SecureDrop

This demonstration of the system for enabling secure communications between journalists and sources, managed by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, will also focus on how to install and use it in your newsroom.

12:30 pm Lunch

1:30 pm Security Lessons from the Snowden Files.

Journalists involved in reporting on the NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden will talk about what they learned from the experience and how it might be handled better in the future.

Spencer Ackerman
US National Security Editor, The Guardian US

Siobhan Gorman
Intelligence correspondent, The Wall Street Journal

Micah Lee
Technologist, The Intercept

Lynn Oberlander
General Counsel, First Look Media

2:30 pm Keynote (To Be Announced)

4:00 pm Screening of Citizenfour

Landmark E Street Cinema
555 11th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004