NINTH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE
INTERNET GOVERNANCE FORUM 2014
"connecting CONTINENTS FOR ENHANCED
MULTISTAKEHOLDER INTERNET GOVERNANCE"
03 SEPTEMBER 2014
WORKSHOP NUMBER 20
LAUNCH UNESCO PUBLICATION DIGITAL SAFETY OF JOURNALISTS
The following is the roughed edited output of the real captioning taken during the IGF 2014 Istanbul, Turkey, meetings. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. The following is roughly edited.
>> GUY BERGER: We will start in three minutes.
>> GUY BERGER: Okay. Good morning everybody. We waited for one more speaker. But I think she will probably come, Laura Tresca, she is not here?
>> AUDIENCE: I didn't see her. I will send her an e-mail.
>> GUY BERGER: Okay. Excellent. So I think we should start because we don't have a huge amount of time this morning.
Well, my name is -- this is Laura. Please, come join us.
So my name is Guy Berger. I'm director for Freedom of Expression at UNESCO. Thank you all for coming. Thanks very much to our panel here.
Of course, everybody here will know the news from yesterday. Normally at a time like this, people say let us have a minute of silence for the beheading of Scott Sotloff. I prefer to say let us have a minute of minute of anger for the beheading of Steven Sotloff.
This goes even further than most killings of journalists. It's not simply that he is an American. It's not simply that he reports for International affairs. This is because he is a journalist and they think they will get coverage because of this. It was this situation like this in Nigeria way back, ten years ago, when it didn't matter what kind of journalist you were, they would kill you because of your visibility as a journalist. So let's pause five or ten seconds for a moment of anger about this targeting of people simply because of their profession.
(Moment of silence.)
Okay. Let's address this topic now of the digital Safety ofJournalists. Today as UNESCO, we are launching research on this subject of the Safety of Journalists, and especially the digital dimension.
A publication will follow. So we have got the research, we don't yet have it in publication form, I apologize. But the research is extremely interesting and our panelists here are going to comment a bit on the research, but really emphasize some of the points that are coming out about what does it mean to have digital safety to do journalism?
So I thought I would start just by a quick PowerPoint to summarize what some of the key points of the research are. So if I could ask the technical people to please give us the PowerPoint there.
Super. So what I'll speak about in this short presentation is who has a stake in this issue of digital security for journalism. That is an interesting question that this research addresses. What it's about. Some of the insights. There are many insights. I won't deal with all of them, but some of the insights, which are quite interesting. And I'll mention a few of the recommendations. This research also looked at the resources, where can people go to get more information on this subject. Three researchers did this work for us. And we thank them. And we thank Denmark, because they paid for the research to be done. So what really emerged in this research is that it's technical but it's really much more than technical. I think that's a very profound thing to think about, and you'll see how this unpacks as we go.
The studies, from different parts of the world -- and now we will hear from one of our speakers about some more cases, particularly in Latin America. It looks at the kind of preventive, protective and preemptive measures to secure the freedom of journalism, where there is a digital dimension. This research looked at what is the role of Governments in this thing, what is -- those who contribute to journalism, I'm not saying journalists, I'm saying those who contribute to journalism, and their sources, news organisation, corporations, and International organisations. So this is all in the research that was done.
Interestingly, we decided we needed to take an activity centered view of journalism. So it's not who does it, it's what is it? And this drew from the United Nations Human Rights Committee which said in 2011 that this is, for them, the definition of journalism. As you can see, it's a very, very wide definition. In the research, we actually came with a slightly narrower definition. But this is very wide. Anybody who uses any means of mass communication, if you're blogging, Facebooking or tweeting, you could count as this. So this Human Rights definition has this.
For this research, for us, the heart of the matter was not all of these people who use platforms are journalists as such. They may contribute to journalism, but they are not all journalists. Okay. That's fine.
At the same time, we thought it was very important to identify who becomes a target, whether they are a journalist or not a journalist, for contributing to journalism. These are the people who are most vulnerable. I think Geoffrey King might disagree with me slightly, so we look forward to some debate on that.
There is a definition of journalism. This is the definition, that somebody somewhere doesn't want to see something published. Well, not all journalism is like that, but particularly the journalism that we are interested in that needs protection, is this journalism, this kind of journalism.
So if you look at the wide variety in that, you see this covers full-time journalists, freelancers, bloggers, citizens, others who publish information. In other words they are not publishing gossip, fiction or entertainment or broadcasts. But the people who are challenging basic interests are the most susceptible to threats. Their safety is most important. That is the heart of the matter.
This also is interesting, this is not a gender blind issue. The safety of journalists matters if you're a woman or if you're a man. If you're a woman, you're going to get abusive emails simply because you're a woman. If you are a man, you may get some harrassment but not the same amount as you would if you were a woman. So digital safety is also gender colored.
What is it safety from? I won't go into detail. But we I'd foyd lots of these different issues. I'm sure there's more. The surveillance of journalists, their location, tracking, software, hardware, phishing, fake domain attacks, man in the middle attacks, denial of service. In fact, the list goes up to 12 different areas of attacks.
I think Geoffrey King will tell us a bit about the number 11. Number 12. Data mining.
So some of the research that comes out of this research that we commissioned, and I'm just giving you a few, that digital is much wider than online. Much digital information is not naturally on the Internet. It's offline. It's on your laptop that is sitting there when you're not connected. It's also on your cell phone, which is not necessarily Internet based calls. So we need to have a very wide concept of where are these issues relevant?
Second very important thing is that the digital and physical are really interdependent in this whole question. It's not a question you can be safe in one space and not safe in another space. These really work hand in hand.
The third insight that came was that digital training needs to cover the normative, social, psychosocial and physical training. This is important because journalists don't know very often that there are norms, and those norms are that they should be free and safe and they have a right to be free and safe in their work. And there are many International instruments, declarations by the UN, and there are national laws which actually empower them and which they could use to assert their rights. So the normative side.
Psychosocial. A lot of journalists get apathetic. They say what's the point? There's no point to it?
And the physical side, of course.
The last insight on this slide is that it's not only about the people doing journalism, it's also about who they interface with. And not only their sources, by the way. It could be their family or their friends, who are inadvertently disclosing information that could compromise the security of people doing journalism.
So the more aware the public is about digital safety issues, the better for the safety of journalists where they have an interface with the digital.
There was some advice for practitioners to actually understand that there is a whole chain here and you can't just patch one point. So you've got to look at all these different points at which you might have vulnerabilities.
One interesting insight in this thing was a recommendation that journalists may consider trying to use the Cloud a lot more than their own devices. Why is that? Because if you receive an e-mail, which looks genuine and it's got an MS word or PDF document, and you open it on your own laptop there could easily be a trojan in there. If you open it in Google docs, Google has far more powerful security than you have in your little environment. So, you know, you possibly can be better off fighting off these kinds of things if you work in the Cloud as opposed to if you look in your own devices. That is interesting.
Develop a risk assessment. This is quite important because you can develop a lot of paranoia around these things and become completely paralyzed around that.
And then have a risk assessment to develop a security plan. Understand that these two things are linked, and then of course implement.
It's -- it takes time to do digital security. A lot of journalists get fatigued, as they will tell you in this thing.
A bit more advice to practitioners. Understand that there is never a complete one thing or another, it's always a balancing, making these judgment calls as to what security is called for with what stories and it's complex.
There was a suggestion to use open source technologies, on the basis that at least there is a bigger community that can assess to what extent there are vulnerabilities. Many journalists seem to be in their community of journalists and not have intersections with the kind of people who can help them and who are interested in helping them. So linking up.
And this is an obvious point. But it just shows the need for ongoing training and awareness.
That's more or less what I've got as a summary. I'd like to switch to our people.
I don't know why this is -- okay. Let me sum up. So based on this referral, digital security is especially relevant to those who did the hard-hitting journalist. There are many digital vectors for threats as I said. I listed some of those, at least there are 12.
Delving deeper, this research gives more insight to these issues, so please watch the UNESCO website. We will release it in full publication form coming up.
It identifies what do journalists do, what do journalist support groups do, what should Governments be doing to support this. And it mentions a lot. It has a lot of links to CPJ and so on.
The final take away I think from this research is that journalism does need special protection for those who need to think not only for their own personal but this is a function of a wider environment. So that if you go to start with a digital, but you've got to go much broader. And if I could use the analogy of personal hygiene, you should wash your hands, but remember if the kitchen is contaminated it doesn't help too much washing your hands. So you've got to work on the different levels as well. And you have to make sure that the health inspectors do what they should do to protect you as well.
That's the introduction to this research. Now let me introduce to you our great panel. I'll ask them to speak for three to five minutes each and then we will throw it open and then we will ask them to give comments again.
The first speaker, and I think I'll introduce them as they go. I think this is better. This is Geoffrey King, Committee to Project Journalists known as CPJ. He is an attorney by training and also a documentary photographer. And he teaches courses in digital privacy and law. So, Geoffrey, I'll give it to you.
>> GEOFFREY KING: Thank you. So there are really three points that I want to make this morning in the time that we have. And hopefully leave a lot of time for questions at the end and interaction.
And the first point is that these attacks, attacks that threaten journalists and frankly similar attacks have threatened nonjournalists, are getting less expensive. They're getting easier to implement. They are trickling down. They are spreading from some of the most sophisticated sort of labs, intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies, these same kinds of techniques are increasingly going to be in the hands of not only state actors but nonstate actors. Not only sophisticated nonstate actor, like private, I don't know, private intelligence firms or large organised crime cartels, that increasingly are going to be available essentially on the free market, perhaps the black market, but are going to become increasingly available to malicious actors that are not traditional threats to journalists in the sense that they're not as predictable.
And that, I think, is perhaps the most salient point. That's why I put it first, is everybody has to come to grips with the fact that essentially they are potentially at least under threat. We, I think, will see increasingly these sorts of attacks of the various sorts that were described really becoming more frequent, more problematic, easier to pull off.
My second point is that one doesn't actually have to do anything particularly reckless or be even particularly prominent or working on controversial issues to be under threat. I think one of the things that I end up hearing a lot is: "Well, the NSA doesn't care about me. I'm just a little fish." Or "I'm not working on controversial issues."
So the first point, that may well be the case. And we have issues of mass surveillance. But it may well be the case that your primary threat model is a large sophisticated intelligence agency of any Government, and that's a very different threat model if that is the case.
But there are a multitude of threat models, as I previously described, and that means that everybody has to be thinking about these things. As I like to say, even if you're just working at a cafe perhaps even near your house on a story, and somebody just swipes your laptop to resell, wouldn't you prefer that the hard drive was encrypted than not when that thing makes its way through whatever chains it makes its way through?
So in addition to not having to be prominent. As we know, most journalists who are killed are local journalists. And in addition to that, you know, we have begun to see research coming out that one doesn't even have to do anything reckless from a technical level. One doesn't even have to get a grammatically suspect e-mail that says "here, click on this file" that is virus.exe or malware.dmg, and then one clicks on it out of a lack of due caution. We now now based on the Washington Post report and research that came out of the Citizen Lab that there is something called a network injection appliance, where one can go to any website where there is an unencrypted connection and an attacker with sufficient resources, of like a million bucks or so, can take that traffic, inject malware into it, send it along on its way without you ever noticing.
The example that was used was cute cat videos. Not malicious ones, but regular YouTube videos, and it's captured and then sent back to you with that little extra attached, and that little extra can entirely take over your computer without you knowing. So one does not necessarily have to be working on a national security reporting or very high level crime reporting or working on corruption issues, corruption stories. And, additionally, one doesn't have to be displaying a lack of caution, and these things can still happen to you. And so I think that the -- it's incredibly important to understand that at least potentially everybody is at risk.
My final point is, despite having a number of colleagues here from Government and intergovernmental organisations, despite being a lawyer myself and having litigated in the U.S. Court system on free speech and free press issues prior to joining CPJ, many of the solutions are not necessarily going to be fully solved by Government action. There I think are going to be two additional tracts that are going to be extremely important. The first is that companies are, and increasingly this is happening post Snowden disclosures, are working to harden their own networks, to encrypt traffic between their data servers, to allow for encrypted e-mail whether through PGP or GPG or start TLS by default, or other similar means.
Additionally, though, journalists, despite our limitations, have to engage in self-help, have to come up with threat models and understand that there are a wide range of actors who might harm us, who might harm our sources, who might try to get at our unpublished work product, whether lawfully or unlawfully and in various rule of law contexts, and take steps such as encrypting ones drives and emails and using VPN and using TOR, that is going to be increasingly important.
The sub point of that is that developers and funders who fund these projects need to make these tools easier to use, so that the -- they are -- it's easy to protect oneself to be safer when engaging in journalism.
>> GUY BERGER: Thank you so much, Geoffrey.
A quick question, you spoke to me before we began and you said awareness is a key point and you told me an anecdote. Would you like to share that?
>> GEOFFREY KING: Sure. I gave a talk in San Francisco to a large group of specifically investigative reporters and investigative editors. It was a talk about surveillance and how to protect oneself from these issues. There were several hundred people in the room. It was a plenary. And at one point I said well, how many of you through either using open source software or just turning it on through Windows or OSX have your hard drives encrypted. And of the 700 people, I would estimate that maybe 7 slowly, reluctantly raised their hands. One of whom was, of course, my Executive Director who I had harangued into making sure that that was the case. And then I said well, you know, at the dinner and happy hour I'll be speaking with each of you individually. But that I think shows, when we're talking about people who have access to resources and are working on very sensitive issues, when -- that's the level that we're talking about I think that we have really an awareness issue.
>> GUY BERGER: I'm not going to ask people here to indicate if you have your hard drive encrypted, because I will embarrass myself. But the point is well made.
The next speaker is Professor Eduardo Bertoni. Director of the Centre for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information at the University of Palermo in Argentina. Previously, he was the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression in the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights at the OAS organisation. American States. Eduardo, please.
>> EDUARDO BERTONI: Good morning. Thank you for the invitation to again cohost this meeting with UNESCO and the other organisations.
I will be very, very brief. I will start saying that this is a really good report, useful, and very complete, in terms of how the report shows the problems, the threats that the journalists, bloggers, and others are having in terms of the digital, you know, world or in the digital realm.
I would like to make three comments. One is a general comment. The second is a comment related to the Latin American approach that the report has. And the third comment is related to what I think that that report could have or what I would like to see in the report and it is not in the report.
So let's start with my first general comment. I started saying that this is a very good report in the way that shows and explains the kind of threats and problems. But my general comment is that most of them are not just problems for journalists, bloggers, and others. It's also -- this report is useful because it can help to understand these kinds of threats not only to journalists but also, for example, to human rights defenders. So this might be a report very useful not just for journalists. This is my general comments. Of course the approach for UNESCO is journalists, and that is okay. But I would recommend for anybody, even if he or she is not a journalist, to read this report. Because it is possible to understand a lot about what is going on in the digital environment.
My second comment is related to the Latin American approach of the report. All of you, if you have the opportunity to read the report, at the end you will say well, in Latin America there are not many problems. And I don't think that this is the correct message. Maybe the report would like to have, you know, more deep information about Latin America or the situation is that in Latin America most of the journalists and bloggers are not aware about the problems. So when you ask journalists, and this is -- and I think that this is the reason why the report doesn't have a lot of information. That there is a lot of misunderstanding, a lack of awareness in Latin American journalists about the problems that they could experience in working in the digital world.
The good news is I think that the situation is changing. The report quote, a very good report that has been made by the International Center for Journalists, and I guess that's Freedom House as well, in Mexico. But, again, the more I take to journalists and bloggers in Latin America, the more I understand that they are not understanding the problems.
You just mentioned, and this is something similar that happened in other parts of the world, so maybe it's a trend. And this is something that is important to work. Even the bibliography of the report doesn't have a lot of Latin American, you know, reports or approach or something. So we need -- we, Latin Americans, need to do more on this issue and the UNESCO report is a very, very good resource for us.
My third point in terms of other issues that I would like to see in the report, and I think that they are not there, sometimes particularly the way that journalists are using, for example, e-mail accounts, the problem is not that they don't know that they can be hacked. But the problem is that they don't want to use their e-mail account that the media company provides to them because they don't trust in the media company, because the media company can see. So that is a very big problem. Many journalists that I talked to, they decided to go and use their personal emails, for example, for work. And they are not understanding that this could be a risk. But at the same time there is that relation between the companies, the media companies, and the journalists, a lot of mistrust there. And this is something that we need to take into account. And also we need to take into account that sometimes the duty of the media company is to train journalists in this, on all of these problems, is not very well delivered in Latin America. I don't know what is going on in other parts of the world.
So this is something that should be -- I mean, I would like to see in the report and it is not there, it's like to put in the agenda.
And the second point is my favorite thing, which is something that I mentioned in a workshop like this last year in Bali, which is the problem of defamation online and jurisdiction.
It is not usual to take this problem as a digital safety problem, but I like to put this as a digital safety problem as well. The problem is very clear, because you have different laws in different countries. Now, when you're a blogger or when you are working for a digital newspaper, for example, you could have problems on criminal defamation in different jurisdictions, different jurisdictions than the one that you are based in. And this could be a problem. I liked that last night I was reading the new book of Wolfgang Benedek, who is here. And he has a short chapter on this. I think that Wolfgang is not as pessimistic as I am. My book on defamation online and jurisdictional problems quote a lot of cases. That is not a problem in Latin America, I should say that. I didn't find that. I didn't find in my research real problems on that.
But I think that because we have different defamation laws, in some jurisdictions it's criminal defamation and in others it's not criminal defamation. This could be a problem. In Latin America and I would like to put this problem into the digital safety problem. Usually it's not in that, you know, under that framework. But I think that should be. And this is a discussion that we can continue here.
So to end, to finish, this is a very important issue, the digital safety for journalists. And it is very important for Latin America. And an announcement is that in our centre we are organising the second edition of what we call Cele 2013. We last edition was last year, where we discussed with organisations, human rights organisations journalist problems related to Internet regulations. Last year we didn't include the problem of digital safety. This year we will include one blog on digital safety as well.
So that's all. Thank you.
>> GUY BERGER: Thank you, Eduardo. I didn't mention, of course, but I note that this is co-hosted by Article 19 and CELE and JPC.
The next speaker is actually from Article 19. It's Laura Tresca. She works as the Brazilian Freedom of Expression Officer. Before that she was a journalist in community radio, magazines, websites, blogs, and media online. Laura, over to you.
>> LAURA TRESCA: Thank you. Sorry to be late. To be late, it's almost a tradition in Brazil.
Good morning. I work for Articla 19. Article 19 is an international organisation that focuses on protection of freedom of expression. And it has offices in several countries, including Brazil. We keep our protection program to monitor Freedom of Expression violations, of trainings, advocacy for Public Policies relating to protection, and support for threatened people.
I totally agree with Bertoni that we know by experience that these threats, they not only relate to journalists, and the threats that are usually focused on journalists are now spread. Nowadays the bloggers and Internet users are also targeted for death threats or lawsuits, for example, due to the comments that they post online.
I know that this is an International forum, but I would like to bring some examples of my country, Brazil, just to help us to have some concrete base for our debate.
I want to tell you about the case of Jerone Revolta. John Revolt in English. He has a channel at YouTube called John Revolt. His videos are based on reports submitted by Internet users and investigated by John himself.
Early 2013 he posted some videos about a business company, involved some politicians and religious people. First, some threatening messages were written in the comments of the video. And several months after this, six or seven months after, the comments -- they keep posting comments. And some people linked to the company made a campaign for people to threaten him at the YouTube channel through the comments. And this campaign was very successful. Sometimes there were 20 comments every 20 seconds. And then someone tried to break up his digital accounts, including the YouTube channel. But no success.
Finally, he started to receive calls at his home in order to remove those specific videos. John took pictures of the comments, told the police about the phone calls, but the police didn't register John's case because they told him that there was no specific threat reported.
So in this conference it's very important for us to discuss the bloggers' right and the Internet users' right.
We also believe this would be a good topic for Internet governance debate. Bloggers and Internet users, they don't have a news institution behind them and to protect them. And this cannot be considered an individual problem.
Last year at the IGF we launched the publication "Right to Blog," to promote this specific agenda. But today I would like to comment late on UNESCO's publication. I guess that location tracking, software and hardware, surveillance without knowledge of the targets, phishing attacks, fake domain attacks, DDOS, cyberstalking, data storage, are some of the issues pointed out in the publication that drives the discussion in the publication that online violations are not only for journalists. For me it's important to highlight that, that it's not only journalists that are exposed to these kinds of threats.
We had a case in Brazil last year, for example. Besides that, last year we had a lot of public demonstrations in Brazil, you probably heard about that. And the Government intelligence agencies started to monitor online activists. After that, three paid demonstrators from Facebook were arrested at their homes, charged by criminal conspiracy and sentiment to violence.
This year, one week before the end of the World Cup, 23 activists were arrested because they could represent a threat to the following games. These activists had their phones recorded and were being monitored online. And the excuse was the same as everywhere else, limitations to avoid and prevent violent acts.
But we know that the surveillance policies have political motivations, since the reasons usually encompasses those things.
Well, this is scene in Brazil. But we know that these are problems in several countries, it's not only a Brazilian problem. So I think that this is an Internet Governance debate. And I think that UNESCO's publication is very useful for us to spot these threats and these kinds of situations are in several countries.
>> GUY BERGER: Thank you, Laura.
The next speaker is Dr. Silvia Grundmann from the Councilor f Europe in Strasbourg. She is head of the media division in the Information Society Department there, which is part of the bigger directorate for general human rights and rule of law. She is a former Judge and a professor and a lawyer.
>> SILVIA GRUNDMANN: Thank you. Much too much waste of time with the bio. But okay.
Good morning, everybody. First of all, I would very much laud this initiative of UNESCO to go into this field of digital safety, because from what I've seen so far, when it comes to new technologies and the Internet and everything, there seems to be a tendency to think that this is new, so it must be a lawless field. And then the gaps occur. But thanks to this initiative, I'm confident there won't be so many gaps and things will be laid open. And then that enables, for instance, courts to quickly use this information and that is very important. As judiciary is sometimes slow, they need really good information and reliable information, and I think this is a big contribution to it.
Now, journalists need protection. That's very clear. And they need it in the real world as well as that is where they are mainly attacked, physically attacked, aggressed.
And the Council of Europe and a pan European organisation with 47 Member States, we have since that time grasped that this is an important topic, safety of journalists, and we tried to find a way how to go beyond our traditional standard setting activities and do something more concrete. So standard setting activities, what we do in the Committee of Ministers is we do soft law. We make recommendations, declarations for States bind themselves, and then there is always a question of implementation. And as we all know, human rights, generally speaking, have big implementation gaps.
Now, how could we more concretely close these gaps? That was our question. And we made some -- so we had a big ministerial conference in Belgrade last year in November where we pushed the topic of safety of journalists. And then in the follow-up to that, we came up with an idea that had also been sponsored by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and that is an Internet-based platform for the safety of journalists.
So the Secretary General newly re-elected of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, he is now taking this up, it's his initiative, a platform for the safety of journalists. And we are currently looking into the modalities. And I'm very grateful for the support that we are getting, because UNESCO is onboard and so is Article 19, and some other NGOs. And, of course, also the OSC with their Freedom of Expression Rapporteur.
And so what we did, and I won't go into too many details here, we started out with a big roundtable in April this year. So if you Google "roundtable safety of journalists," you come right to then our website. By the way, I had some problems yesterday and today about access to the Internet here. I don't know whether I'm the only one.
And I joked about it before to a colleague, isn't that strange?
Now, so our website, everything is there, very, very good material on this roundtable and on all the questions, such a project, such a platform for safety of journalists raises.
We will be getting there, I think, but it will be a slow process. Also, because of political will, we will need to have our stakeholders onboard, that means all the 47 Member States, and the topic has not yet been discussed in the Committee of Ministers.
The Member States, they have in principle agreed on the usefulness of such a platform, which we felt was an encouragement and which led us to investing all of this time. But then the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.
So let's see. What I want to stress here also is --
>> GUY BERGER: Sorry, if you could begin to wind up, just because of time.
>> SILVIA GRUNDMANN: Yes. Digital safety is a very important break in the wall of the enabling environment for journalists. And I just want to conclude with a quote from the court's case law, the European Court of Human Rights, from the, as we are in Turkey, the Randink case. And where the court really developed this notion of the enabling environment for the first time and spelled it out, and made it clear that States have a positive obligation to create this enabling environment so that everybody can express their opinions and ideas without fear.
And so, therefore, the digital safety is an important part of this enabling environment.
Thank you very much.
>> GUY BERGER: Excellent. Thank you for sharing that with us.
So our last speaker is Mr. Scott Busby. He is Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. State Department, particularly in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. He works -- he oversees the bureau's work in East Asia and the Pacific on various issues like LGBT rights, Internet freedom, and business and human rights. And he has previously been Director of Human Rights on national security staff in the White House. And before that, he was coordinator of intergovernmental consultations and migration assylum and refugees, based out of Geneva.
Scott, the floor is yours.
>> SCOTT BUSBY: Thank you to you and UNESCO for pulling together this useful report. We will look at it with great interest and see how it can inform both our policies and programmes. Thanks, too, to UNESCO for speaking out so loudly and forcefully in all of the many cases in which journalists are under threat, be they be digital journalists or more traditional journalists.
I simply want to say that the US remains deeply committed to a free and open press. The President and Secretary of State have made this clear repeatedly. How do we try to carry that out? One, we speak forcefully a cases of concern. We have a "free the press" campaign each spring in the run up to world press freedom day, where we identify particular cases of concern and urge the Governments holding those individuals to release those journalists, be they digital or traditional.
We also have a wide number of programmes to promote digital safety, both for journalists and for activists and for average citizens, for that matter. These trainings are implemented by a wide array of people and a wide array of places. We call them sort of public health style digital hygiene campaigns. We would be happy to share information about those with all of you.
We are also very focused on issues of free expression for journalists and others in the freedom online coalition, a group a 23 countries from around the world who have come together to try to promote freedom of expression online. And through that coalition we have something called the "Digital Defenders Partnership," which supports journalists and activists under threat. And again we would urge those of you who are aware of particular cases or organisations with troubles, to identify those to us so we can consider them for support and protection.
Lastly let me just say that in terms of US surveillance programmes, which I know have been the subject of a great deal of scrutiny and attention in the recent months, the President's reform efforts in this area are very much informed by the wish to allow journalists and other human rights activists to continue with their critical activities. The President has made clear that to the extent that surveillance is conducted, it's done for specific purposes, be it counter intelligence, to address terrorism, to address transnational crime. I'm happy to discuss those at greater length.
And, lastly, we welcome your comments and recommendations. We can't do our work effectively without the advice and input of Civil Society, including journalists. So I'm very interested to hear your comments and concerns. Thank you.
>> GUY BERGER: Well, who would like to make some quick comments in addition to what you heard? This question, digital safety for those who do journalism. Please introduce yourself quickly and keep your comments tight. Thanks.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you, good morning. My name is Wolfgang Benedek, University of Graz, in Austria. Thank you for this very interesting panel and publication.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of lip service to the issue of safety of journalists. It's good that there is awareness raising, but the real issue is in the operationalization, as we have seen.
I wanted to follow up on Bertoni, where he said that it's also important to look at issues like defamation, laws, et cetera. And there is the physical safety, which is certainly an overriding concern. But there is also the issue of legal safety of journalists. And I would like to point out that increasingly we see laws being amended with regard to defamation laws in particular, information laws, Internet laws, et cetera, which create more and more risks for journalists and in particular also for people who are working digital, who are doing online work, who are bloggers, et cetera.
One could give the example of Turkey, with the Internet law here, where the defamation prohibitions have been enlarged and it makes it more difficult in practice for journalists.
Also, the prosecutors in Turkey, they have only limited time to start investigations. So they go for it in any case. This makes harassment for the journalists and that increases the difficulty.
Another example could be Russia where recently they have changed the information law in the sense that it will make it more difficult for bloggers to do their job. And they have to register if they have a number of readers on their pages, then they have to respect the laws and mass media in Russia, which means that the content is easily to be brought before a court and so on. So that is what I mean, legal harassment is one of the issues which we find increasingly now also in the online field because this is where -- so this is where the Freedom of Expression has moved to, as already the offline field is more or less under control.
>> AUDIENCE: Hello, everybody. My name is Gregoire Pouget. I'm working for Reporters Without Borders. So I'm very happy to be here at this panel. And I'm very happy that UNESCO is doing a lot of stuff on digital safety.
The discussions were interesting, but I think something was missed or maybe I was not active enough. You talked about the fact that we have to raise awareness on the digital journalist, this is what you do with handbooks and guides. But we can still do trainings. I know this is not the purpose of UNESCO, especially, but something that is really missed, I didn't hear about that, is that fact that the technology to spy on journalists is less and less expensive. So you said that this is fact. But there is something we can do about that. We can -- and this is really an emergency -- we can ask the European Union to regulate and they have to -- we need a framework in order to control the exploitation of surveillance technologies. So I know this is not the policy of the IGF to name companies, but two years ago the Reporters Without Borders published a report about surveillance companies. And we even filed a formal complaint with the OECD about five companies that sell surveillance technologies: Gamma International, (inaudible), Hacking Team, Blue Coat -- and I say the name "Blue Coat" because there is someone from the United States here and you can do something about that. And Trovicor, which is a German company.
So we filed a formal complaint against two of those companies. One year (inaudible) against Trovicor and against Gamma International with a different private NGO, such as Privacy International.
Today our formal complaint against Trovicor has not been accepted by the OECD, so it's done. And our formal complaint again against Gamma International, it's still running, but we don't have any news because the OECD is investigating. So it's been one year and a half. In one year and a half, can you imagine how many journalists have been spied on by the technology sold by Gamma International? So there is a real emergency to do something to regulate and we need a juridical framework to protect journalists against digital surveillance technologies.
>> GUY BERGER: Thank you. One more comment and then I'll ask for a quick tweet. Because the next session is starting in 15 minutes, so we can run for five. Just one more comment.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. I'm Jo Ellen Kaiser. I'm from the Media Consortium in the United States. We represent independent media.
I heard Geoffrey King talk about the way that corporations can strengthen their security to help protect e-mail traffic. But we're also concerned about corporate spying and corporate surveillance of journalists and dangers to journalists from corporations. We are concerned about the way that Facebook and telecoms have offered Governments information about -- personal information about journalists, and also about big oil and gas companies and other kinds of big players who are very concerned about journalists' reports and journalists' investigations of them.
So I feel that it's not just state actors who are a danger to journalists, but also these kinds of nonstate multi-national corporations.
>> GUY BERGER: Right. Let's have a quick tweet from each our panelists.
>> GEOFFREY KING: As I believe the movie version, not the book version of "Catch 22" said, "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you."
>> EDUARDO BERTONI: I want to add that I'm glad that my colleague from the other side of the Atlantic, Wolfgang Benedek, also thinks that digital safety should include legal safety in terms of defamation laws in the legal environment. So I think that this is something that we should continue working on and maybe include in this arena as well.
>> LAURA TRESCA: I totally agree that it's not only a state threat but a company and business threat, too. And I bring the John Revolt case because it was a company threat.
>> SILVIA GRUNDMANN: I join the speakers on this issue of legal safety and digital safety. And I think that we will incorporate this into our awareness raising activities, notably when it comes to training the judiciary at the Council of Europe. Thank you.
>> SCOTT BUSBY: Let me address the issue of surveillance technology that our colleague from Reporters Without Borders raised. It's an issue of great concern to us, not only because some of the companies doing this are American companies. But I would point out that the issue is being addressed under the VASNER arrangement for the nonproliferation of dangerous items. Formerly it dealt with weapons and now it's looking at surveillance technologies. And I would urge you and others in the room to look at this arrangement and encourage your Governments, including my own, to see whether the VASNER agreement can successfully address this problem.
>> GUY BERGER: It remains for me to say thank you all for participating.
This is clearly a growing issue, growing in scope, growing in intensity, and growing in frequency. So I suggest that we meet again at IGF next year and take stock of further developments. We had a good review of the problems, also of some attempts to address some of them. We had perspectives about the need to broaden the picture to the legal question. I think it's been a rich panel so can we give a round of applause to our panelists.
And if you are interested in these issues, there is another panel starting here at 10:15, which is debating some of these issues as well. Thank you.
(End of session. 10:05)
The preceding is the unedited output of the realtime captioning taken during the IGF 2014 Istanbul, Turkey, meetings. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may been incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. The preceding is roughly edited.