Edward Snowden's New Nonprofit Will Protect Reporters From Spies
When Edward Snowden leaked the biggest collection of classified National Security Agency documents in history, he wasn’t just revealing the inner workings of a global surveillance machine. He was also scrambling to evade it. To communicate with the journalists who would publish his secrets, he had to route all his messages over the anonymity software Tor, teach reporters to use the encryption tool PGP by creating a YouTube tutorial that disguised his voice and eventually ditch his comfortable life (and smartphone) in Hawaii to set up a cloak-and-dagger data handoff halfway around the world.
Now, nearly four years later, Snowden has focused the next phase of his career on solving that very specific instance of the panopticon problem: How to protect reporters and the people who feed them information in an era of eroding privacy—without requiring them to have an NSA analyst’s expertise in encryption or to exile themselves to Moscow.
“Watch the journalists, and you’ll find their sources,” Snowden says. “So, how do we preserve that confidentiality in this new world, when it’s more important than ever?”
Since early last year, Snowden has quietly served as president of a small San Francisco-based nonprofit called the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Its mission: To equip the media to do its job at a time when state-sponsored hackers and government surveillance threaten investigative reporting in ways Woodward and Bernstein never imagined.