In November 2014 Swedish Journalist Carl Fridh Kleberg spent a month at LSE as the Polis/ Journalistfonden Fellow.

His research paper Is Source Protection Dead: Protecting journalists’ sources in a post-Snowden age was the result.

Death of source protection cover

Some of its conclusions are:

  • The revelations of mass surveillance by Edward Snowden have highlighted the potential threat to the privacy of journalists’ communication and data, calling into question the ability to protect anonymous sources.
  • Threats to the privacy of journalists can come from a number of sources including government agencies, employers and service providers.
  • There are a number of tools available to help maintain privacy of communication but using these can sometimes draw unwanted attention in themselves and there is no tool that is 100% safe.
  • There is a need for training and awareness-raising amongst journalists, and media organisations will expect the next generation of journalists to be more ’data savvy’ -something that is not yet the case.
  • There are a number of simple steps you can take to increase data security such as continuous ’password hygine’ and an awareness of privacy and location settings on devices like mobile phones.
  • When assessing risk to a source, journalists need to be aware of the compromising potential of electronic communications and may need to go ’offline’ for the most risky of cases.

 Read the full report