Photojournalists Call on Camera Manufacturers to Add Encryption

The Freedom of the Press Foundation has published an open letter signed by over 150 photojournalists and documentary filmmakers asking manufacturers to build encryption into their cameras.

This is important. Consider what can be easily revealed about a confidential source when a government or hostile party seizes a journalist’s camera, and you begin to understand what’s at stake.

Android, iOS, and macOS all offer system-level encryption for their devices, but there’s nothing to stop someone from pulling the data card out of most any camera, plugging it into a reader, and freely reviewing its contents—and “inspecting” cameras is a favorite tactic of many a government, police force, or criminal antagonist. The Committee to Protect Journalists notes such incidents are so common they can’t “realistically track” all of them.

There are too many places in the world where a single photo can put a source or photographer in lethal danger, and that makes the current lack of hardware-level protection unacceptable. As someone who collaborates with and directs photojournalists’ efforts on a daily basis, I endorse the Foundation’s call.