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Chicago Conference Brings Int'l Experts to Help Journalists Beat the Spy State

, February 03, 2014

Dear GAP Supporters:

Journalists from around the country will meet in Chicago from Feb. 27 to March 1 to consider what the internationally coordinated state surveillance means to them. For more information, please see the information below.

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"No Secrets: Journalism in the Age of Surveillance," a daylong mini-conference put on by San Francisco-based The Media Consortium (TMC) and IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, comes February 27th to the Loop's University Center Conference Center. It is the latest in a string of responses to the steady deterioration of Americans' privacy in recent years, a slide capped off by the still trickling revelations about spying by the National Security Agency and its British and Australian counterparts.

Featuring privacy and encryption experts from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, The Tor Project, UK's The Guardian Project, and the Medill School of Journalism, the event will offer a mix of presentations and hands-on sessions to journalists, lawyers, citizen journalists and the public. General admission is $50; $25 for students and nonprofits.

"With the NSA's war on privacy, it's a completely different world. Learning Tor, PGP and other encryption tools, or even basic data hygiene, is essential for reporters now," said Linda Jue, executive director of the G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism and TMC co-organizer of the event. "Journalists need to think more seriously about protecting themselves and their sources from these intrusions on our First Amendment rights."

Professors and students from IIT Chicago-Kent will be part of the team of specialists teaching attendees how to keep their communications confidential and their professional and personal activities free from threat.

According to The World Press Freedom Index for 2014 from Reporters Without Borders, the US plunged 13 places to # 46 out of 180 countries. The reported cited "information sacrificed to national security and surveillance" as the primary reason for the drop. The report further stated that democratic countries like the US have too willingly sacrificed freedom of speech to "an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs."

The mini-conference looks to consider what a free press means in the age of secrets.

"Our freedom of expression, privacy, and the right to a fair trial are all being threatened by collection of our online data," said Lori Andrews, a law professor at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. "We're in the age of the digital Scarlet Letter, where something as innocuous as the websites you visit or the posts that you send can lead to consequences you couldn't imagine."

NO SECRETS: JOURNALISM IN THE AGE OF SURVEILLANCE
Thursday, February 27, 2014, 8am-5pm, University Center Conference Center, 525 South State St., Chicago, IL

If you are a reporter interested in covering the event, please contact Jo Ellen Kaiser at joellen@themediaconsortium.com to arrange credentials. If you wish to register for the mini-conference, go to http://www.themediaconsortium.org/2014-annual-conference/.

The Media Consortium (www.themediaconsortium.org) is an international network of independent progressive news organizations. Our mission is to support and grow the independent news sector.

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law has been at the forefront of social and legal issues raised by computers since the time of the original IBM mainframe.

Contacts
Jo Ellen Kaiser, 415-878-3862, joellen@themediaconsortium.com;
Dan Massoglia, 336- 575-6968, dmassoglia@gmail.com