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Guardian reporter delayed e-mailing NSA source because crypto is a pain

(Ars Technica) If you still haven’t gotten around to encrypting your e-mail, you have company. Glenn Greenwald, the civil liberties writer who recently exposed the National Security Agency’s vast data-collection programs, wasn’t quick to jump on the e-mail encryption wagon either.

According to recent articles in The New York Times and The Huffington Post, Greenwald first heard from National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden in either January or February. Snowden said he had information that would be of “great interest” and said he wanted to communicate securely using PGP encryption. According to accounts by both publications, the request was a nonstarter.

“Mr. Greenwald wrote back that he did not have such software,” the NYT reported. “Mr. Snowden later sent him a homemade video with step-by-step instructions for installing it, which Mr. Greenwald watched but never completed.” Greenwald then brought the same request to documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras. Given her experience covering surveillance and working with sensitive sources, she was more comfortable encrypting her communications.
“I have a lot of experience because I’ve been working with—as you note in your thing, I’ve done filming with WikiLeaks,” she said in an interview with Salon. “I know Jacob Appelbaum. I already had encryption keys, but what he was asking for was beyond what I was using in terms of security and anonymity.”

By late April or early May according to the NYT, Greenwald and Snowden began communicating over an unidentified encrypted chat program...read full article

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