10:00– 12:00 pm Panel I: The Gap between Security Risks and Security Practices
The alarm has been sounding on the weakness of data security practices within the journalism industry. Inadvertent disclosures of a source’s identity or of sensitive information could jeopardize the safety of the parties involved, the publication of the news story, or even the integrity of a journalistic institution. Every aspiring reporter is familiar with the legendary success of Woodward and Bernstein in protecting Mark Felt. What do such situations look like in contemporary journalism—and how have the tactics changed since the days of hanging flags on balconies and meeting in underground garages?
Yet newsrooms and journalism schools have been seemingly slow to react. How does the industry perceive the security risks, what solutions is it offering, and who is in a position to make those decisions? This panel will open the conference by exploring the reasons for concern within journalism, the training programs that have emerged in response, and the measures that are actually being put into practice on the ground.
Moderator: Rebecca Wexler
• Marius Bosch
• Quinn Norton
• Geanne Rosenberg
• Frank Smyth
12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 – 3:00 pm Panel II: The Faith in Anonymous and Secure Communications
Over the years, an assortment of communication tools have promised security, anonymity, or both, as protection against online and offline threats alike. Some have been debunked and abandoned, but others have endured. What is the current state of the art, and does the technology live up to the hype? If so, how much technological savvy does one need to achieve online anonymity, and what are the common traps and mistakes to avoid? If not, should we be more cautious when touting such tools?
Even if the tools were flawless, would we necessarily want them? In what ways might perfectly secure communication technologies help or hurt the practice of journalism? Would a casual presumption of online anonymity undermine the practice of careful vigilance? Would we want a world in which governments can reliably hide information from the public, and law breakers can reliably hide information from law enforcement? This panel will examine the claims being made on behalf of secure technologies, as well as the claims being made on behalf of secure journalism.
Moderator: Bryan Choi
• Bryan Ford
• Brian Krebs
• Meredith Patterson
• Cole Stryker
3:00 – 3:15 pm 15 minute Break
3:15 – 5:15 pm Panel III: The Tradeoff Between Security and Usability
In an ideal world, the tools we choose would be both perfectly secure and easy to use. We gravitate naturally toward tools that “just work,” especially when deadlines are looming and computer vulnerabilities are vague and unrealized. Yet, maximum security requires cumbersome measures to guard against every possible contingency. Tools that prioritize usability have been criticized for cutting corners and failing to deliver the security they advertise.
This panel will engage the heated debate that has erupted regarding the tradeoff between security and usability. Can an effective middle ground be achieved? What compromises do existing tools already embrace, and should those compromises be celebrated or rejected? How should the development of future security tools and tactics proceed? What is the optimal balance of security and usability for journalists and technologists alike?
Moderator: Nabiha Syed
• Dead Addict
• Kelly Caine
• John Railton
• Ella Saitta