The Annoying Technology Journalists Should Be Using

Friday, August 16, 2013


The way Edward Snowden communicated with the Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, the journalists who eventually wrote stories based on his NSA leaks, was by using encryption software. One of the most popular forms of encryption is called PGP, or "Pretty Good Privacy." Brooke talks to Gawker staff writer Adrian Chen about trying to set up PGP on his computer and how it should be the baseline for national security reporters.

Modest Mouse - Here It Comes


Adrian Chen

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Comments [7]

Bradley Gawthrop

This seems an impossibly light-weight treatment of a vitally important subject. It is the responsibility of journalists to protect their sources. EVERY journalist needs to learn their way around public key cryptography as part of their trade craft. "but, its HARD" just doesn't cut it as an excuse. If other people had not done Greenwald's job for him and been prepared to receive encrypted communication from Snowden, the story might never have been told, and Snowden might have been (even more) seriously endangered. Against those risks, why do we act like a few hours of time to learn and understand these technologies is some kind of intractable barrier? How lazy is that? If I were a potential leaker, I'd be both disgusted and terrified that my potential safety was apparently not worth the bother.

Aug. 25 2013 03:43 PM
Uncertain Tortoise from over there.

This is the second time the show used the Modest Mouse song "Here it Comes" after a story on our mushrooming surveillance society. I'm wondering, is the use of that song a statement?

Aug. 25 2013 10:39 AM
Ramesh from NY

Listening to this story made me think that you guys have not heard of closure of 'lavaBit' and 'Silent circle'.

I think you should have spoken to a hands-on technical guy. Key word is 'hands-on', not a tech reporter or blogger or analyst.

Aug. 20 2013 12:05 AM
Eric Goebelbecker from Undisclosed

The best option is snail mail? Really?

How the heck did you guys miss that one?

Aug. 18 2013 07:59 PM
Gene Krzyzynski from Tonawanda, N.Y.

Fascinating, albeit disheartening, segment, as was the one with Peter Maass. Adrian Chen might be guilty of a little wishful thinking, though, when he says that one of the best ways of safeguarding communications is "meeting in a parking garage."

Not anymore. At least from what I've seen. Parking ramps and garages have surveillance cameras galore.

If the likes of a Bob Woodward and a Deep Throat were doing their thing these days, sad to say, they'd have to do it elsewhere. Presumably at air-gapped computers. (But how would Hollywood make THAT look dramatic?)

Aug. 18 2013 10:34 AM
Benoit Balz from ny

Here's some real news about encryption and its consequences, not how annoying it is that one must drink alcohol during install (!):

Aug. 17 2013 10:02 AM

What good is encryption when the government could request or find a backdoor through it? Is PGP secure against the abuses we've been reading about, or it is just, aw shucks, too " difficult" to use?

No mention of the closing and subsequent gag order over the encrypted email service Lavabit??

Gag orders over big brother tactics seem like something an OTM producer might want to cover, but there seems to be a soft-pedal policy at OTM regarding surveillance.

The stories are out there. Why not cover the most egregious hypocrisies instead of some geek who can't install software on his computer?

Aug. 17 2013 09:12 AM

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