Every time I round up all my articles for the month/quarter/whatever, I’m amazed that this blog is still up because I keep taking steps to getting the site redesigned (which is also why I haven’t fixed the image security). Still, I know that people rely on this to keep an eye on my work because I get emails every time I send this out, and I appreciate you guys!
And, of course, none of my work would be possible without sources that trust me to tell their stories or explain difficult concepts they’re far more well-versed in, researchers and fact-checkers and editors that put up with me obsessing about and sometimes debating every word, art/graphics departments, and so much more, so this is one way to try to spread the shine. So here’s yet another roundup; perhaps the last one of its kind.
Revealed: Massive Chinese Police Database (The Intercept)
Millions of leaked police files detail suffocating surveillance of China’s Uyghur minority. For this story, I was also interviewed for the Intercepted podcast, Freedom of the Press Foundation’s Digital Security and ROMS twitch stream, Talk East Turkestan, and Ahkbar in the UAE. If this article moves you to make a donation, I would recommend donating to the Xinjiang Victims Database or Human Rights Watch rather than The Intercept, which badly mishandled the project on the ~3 years I worked on it, including sitting on drafts for as long as 4.5 months and laying off almost the entire research team, who were absolutely pivotal to the project.) Special thanks goes to Darren Byler, who I interviewed over a dozen times because of massive delays on the part of The Intercept.
I was thrilled to profile security researcher and WireGuard creator Jason A. Donenfeld, though it was a little bit out of my comfort zone since I do almost entirely investigative tech reporting and service journalism. Still, I wrote a little blurb about WireGuard for PopSci’s annual Best of What’s New feature, and there was so much more to the story. I’m posting the Yahoo! News link because of the paywall, but this was originally published on Business Insider. (You can donate to WireGuard here, if you’re so inclined.)
How To Use WhatsApp Privacy Settings (Consumer Reports)
The messaging app, which is owned by Facebook, may be sharing more information than you realize. I did a little breakdown of what settings you may want to change and why. (I also did a little Insta Reel for this piece, which was way out of my comfort zone. You can check it out here if you promise not to laugh too hard.)
The popular social media platform has sparked concern from privacy and security experts. I spoke to hacker Brian Pak, privacy attorney Whitney Merrill, and subreddit mod Bryant Zadegan about some of the issues and what people should consider when deciding how or whether to use the app.
Worst of Cybersecurity Reporting
Each year, David Huerta and I do a little CactusCon talk breaking down the biggest tech media fails of the prior year. I’m starting to feel a little weird about this because as much as journalists often make major errors when covering tech, a lot of technologists, too, are in a bit of a bubble where they throw out wild accusations about journalists fabricating sources, making up information and even deliberately misrepresenting things. It’s far more likely that unnamed sources got things wrong or that it was just an honest mistake. Still, misleading news articles can cause real harm, and it’s important to learn from other people’s mistakes. So here’s a video of us discussing the worst cybersec reporting in 2020, followed by Q&A.
March is Here
Since I’m writing this in early March, here’s a sneak peek to a story that’ll be in the next roundup, if I do one: How to Shut Stalkers Out of Your Tech. I also have a video with very poor lighting that I’m going to try to talk myself into sharing, and am working on some stories I hope will be out by the end of the month.