Sep 30, 2013
U.S. government surveillance of Americans' metadata threatens confidentiality and protection of journalists' sources, warns Phil Zimmermann, the creator of the email encryption software "Pretty Good Privacy" and president of secure communications firm Silent Circle.
In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, this pioneer in internet privacy warned that the dangers of metadata surveillance go beyond mass-scale aggregation. Metadata can also be collected on an individual level to monitor and go after journalists' sources. He explains:
You're a journalist for the Guardian. You know that the Guardian sometimes writes stories that are of great interest to intelligence agencies. Well, what if the intelligence agencies want to see if a journalist at the Guardian is talking to a particular sensitive source?
You don't have to do a lot of data mining for that. All you have to do is find that so-and-so, some government employee, is talking to some journalist at the Guardian. Then somebody's in a heap of trouble.
PGP was created by Zimmermann in 1991 as an encrypted, more private alternative to commercial email communications. He has developed a host of other privacy technologies as well, including an app for encryption smart phone calls.
In early September it was revealed that the NSA had virtually defeated encryption safeguards to protect online privacy, by breaking code and controlling and manipulating technology companies.
We're optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.
We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter counts.
Your contribution supports this new media model—free, independent, and dedicated to uncovering the truth. Stand with us in the fight for social justice, human rights, and equality. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.