The U.S. government spying on the people is a hot topic but not everyone understands what exactly its implications are. Most affected by this surveillance are the lawyers and journalists who feel that press freedom is now being compromised.
The idea of transactions and electronic communications being spied upon by the government makes people more wary now of their security. Because of this, people concerned are thinking of ways and steps on how to change their practices to keep all channels secure.
There is an effort to make confidential information, sources, and communications more secure than ever. Lawyers and security journalists take the lead by drafting a 120-page report on elaborate and practical steps to keep all things secure as much as possible.
The document also features interviews with senior U.S. government officials, lawyers, and journalists who say large-scale government spying and secrecy are hurting press freedom. A healthy democracy includes the right to information of the public and the right to counsel but these two are being undermined now.
"Journalists told us that officials are substantially less willing to be in contact with the press, even with regard to unclassified matters or personal opinions, than they were even a few years ago," the Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union said in a joint report.
The report, entitled "With Liberty to Monitor All: How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy," also documents that the spying is harming their "ability to report on matters of great public concern."
About 50 journalists covering law enforcement, national security, and intelligence have been interviewed and shared their opinions on the matter. Some notable press groups includes NPR, ABC, the Associated Press, and the New York Times.
The government seems to be bent on dealing with such leaks that contact between the media and intelligence officials now have new restrictions. An Insider Threat Program was also launched to report any suspicious behavior by a federal intelligence official, as well as, an increase in leak prosecutions.
The result is that sources are very intimidated these days. They no longer want to discuss further information even those unclassified ones because of fear. The sources' hesitation puts a limit on anyone who wants to move forward with a case or an important issue.