The development of high-tech “zero-click” spyware has made sources fearful of speaking to journalists, stated the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in its spyware report released October 13, 2022. As per the ‘When spyware turns phones into weapons’ report viewed by MediaNama before release, people are scared of incurring retribution from authorities on talking to journalists. Szabolcs Panyi, a Hungarian investigative reporter, told CPJ that after breaking the news of the Hungarian government buying Pegasus spyware, he has struggled to meet and communicate with sources. They are “increasingly afraid of the trouble [he] might bring into their life,” said Panyi. Similar interviews reports, tech experts, press freedom advocates across various countries including India revealed that journalists are concerned not just for their own safety but for friends and family as well. According to journalist Fred Guterl, who wrote the report, the knowledge that any journalist’s phone could be tapped without intimation has “created profound feelings of powerlessness.” Some consider leaving the profession, while others may give up on the idea of journalism entirely. Even newsroom leaders take extra security precautions when discussing coverage plans, said the report. “Violence against journalists is rising. So are digital threats. The damage by tools like Pegasus is contributing to the rise in violence,” said John Scott-Railton, senior researcher at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab. Why it matters: While the surveillance and spying on journalists is not new, spyware that can take over a phone without a user’s knowledge or interaction threatens journalism and…
‘When spyware turns phones into weapons’: CPJ report on how spyware impacts journalists and press freedom
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released a report on how sophisticated spyware is threatening journalism through surveillance tech
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