Journalists have a responsibility to uncover the truth about different aspects of society, and in the process, they often make powerful enemies. Sadly, while technology has empowered society in many ways, there are also sinister spy tools used by governments and private interests.
You don’t need to look very far for examples of governments spying on reporters, whether there’s a conservative or liberal administration in office.
Let’s take a closer look at the type of phone protection journalists need to keep their sensitive information private until the story is ready to publish.
There isn’t simply one thing called “encryption” that phones do or do not have. Rather, encryption can be weak or strong, and even “end-to-end encryption” can vary in strength.
Journalists need a hardened mobile device for encrypted phone calls with military-grade integrated end-to-end encryption. You should have full control over the private encryption key you create and which constantly stays with the phone.
What if encryption keeps your information safe, but your data still gets intercepted through weak server storage? Ideally, your phone should have a proprietary design that removes server storage from even being a vulnerability.
Journalists need to know that their contacts, notes, emails, and encrypted messages are protected and secured continuously. Of course, they also have contacts and sources to conceal! You can have the strongest encryption in the world, but it’s obsolete if there’s another path to obtaining your data.
Secondary Security Features
True security is knowing that your information can’t get leaked, even if the phone itself is misplaced or stolen. Journalists need a slew of features that will safeguard their phone’s content.
For example, journalists can set messages, notes, and pictures to self-destruct. This way, they can share vital information while controlling its shelf life. On the best systems, any content marked to self-destruct can’t be favorited, forwarded, or saved.
The Tamper Proof feature is vital because if you set up the optional duress password, the phone will automatically delete all sensitive information if someone enters the wrong password too many times.
A Notebook Lock Screen with a custom pin for two-factor authentication is a must-have feature. While the security technology in the phone will be sophisticated and complex, the phone itself must be easy for any non-tech user to operate.
The best platforms allow one-touch access to toggle between apps so that users can access notes, contacts, pictures, and voice, and messages with just the swipe of a finger. Features like group chat and even anonymous group chat can be started in three simple steps so that there’s no tradeoff between security and ease of use.
It’s not an overstatement to say that journalists possess information that can represent life or death for them, their sources, and the people in their stories. Conflict reporters need to be extremely cautious, but so do journalists who cover business, politics, and, really, any subject at all. Be proactive and get a phone with military-grade and enough secondary security features to keep your data from getting into the wrong hands.