We all know these stories of sources who take a risk to approach an institution and that institution doesn’t publish the information. I think that the existence of the Intercept or WikiLeaks or other outlets that are willing to publish that information creates a different media landscape…
…I don’t think what we’re doing is radical. I think it’s radical to censor information because the government asks you to. That’s radical.
Laura Poitras, Director and Producer, CitizenFour, to Wired. Laura Poitras on the Crypto Tools That Made Her Snowden Film Possible.
Context: Poitras is referring to the New York Times which withheld publication of the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program for a year at the administration’s request.
The Tools: Poitras says she couldn’t have reported CitizenFour, her documentary on Edward Snowden and the NSA leaks, without a number of Open Source tools. These included, according to Wired, “the anonymity software Tor, the Tor-based operating system Tails, GPG encryption, Off-The-Record (OTR) encrypted instant messaging, hard disk encryption software Truecrypt, and Linux.”
Additionally, Poitras used the anonymizing operating system Tails on a computer dedicated solely for communicating with Snowden, according to Wired.
There is sometimes a sense that we’ve decoupled computing from its cultural and artistic and humanistic context, and some of the trouble we might point to in the world we are living in—run by Wall Street and Silicon Valley—is perhaps a result of thinking of everything as just an engineering problem.
Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist cultural critic, has for months received death and rape threats from opponents of her recent work challenging the stereotypes of women in video games. Bomb threats for her public talks are now routine. One detractor created a game in which players can click their mouse to punch an image of her face.
Not until Tuesday, though, did Ms. Sarkeesian feel compelled to cancel a speech, planned at Utah State University. The day before, members of the university administration received an email warning that a shooting massacre would be carried out at the event. And under Utah law, she was told, the campus police could not prevent people with weapons from entering her talk.
“This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history, and I’m giving you a chance to stop it,” said the email, which bore the moniker Marc Lépine, the name of a man who killed 14 women in a mass shooting in Montreal in 1989 before taking his own life.
The threats against Ms. Sarkeesian are the most noxious example of a weekslong campaign to discredit or intimidate outspoken critics of the male-dominated gaming industry and its culture. The instigators of the campaign are allied with a broader movement that has rallied around the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate, a term adopted by those who see ethical problems among game journalists and political correctness in their coverage. The more extreme threats, though, seem to be the work of a much smaller faction and aimed at women. Major game companies have so far mostly tried to steer clear of the vitriol, leading to calls for them to intervene.
With two years of her four-year term as the Times’s Public Editor (Graylady-ese for ombudsman) under her belt, she has not only adapted to the speed of the web, but managed to keep pace with its topicality and bottomless appetite for controversy. Sometimes that’s required stirring up controversy herself. But this is what makes her so different from her predecessors: she has ushered the position into a new media age by reimagining the very purpose of the job.