As part of our commitment to promoting freedom of information and fighting censorship, we recently added an important layer of encryption to our website. Here’s why we did it, and what it means for you.
Over the past year we at +972 Magazine have dedicated significant resources into expanding our journalistic focus on censorship, freedom of information, and online free speech issues in Israel and Palestine.
We have covered attempts to impose military censorship on Israeli bloggers and social media users, the expanding use of gag orders, we’ve exposed the previously unknown scope of censorship in Israel, the arbitrary detention of Palestinian journalists, the shuttering of Palestinian media outlets, and more.
You can find all of those articles on a newly launched special coverage page: “Censorship & Freedom of Information.”
We are also committed to practicing what we preach. Almost exactly a year ago we told you that the Israeli military censor was compelling us to submit a small number of articles for prior review before publication — and pledged to fight any attempts to censor our journalistic work. We also instituted a policy whereby we will tell you, our readers, each and every time we are compelled to submit an article to the censor.
Many other internal policies have been instituted to help protect the integrity of our journalistic work, and to protect ourselves against state surveillance, interference, and intervention of any kind.
In that spirit, we are excited to announce that +972 Magazine just became the first media organization in Israel to use HTTPS to deliver you our content. HTTPS is a much more secure version of HTTP, the protocol through which most web traffic is transmitted to your computer.
You may have noticed that when you visit +972 Magazine these days there is a green padlock icon in your web address bar. You may already look for that green icon when you make financial transactions online — it indicates that the connection between your browser and the web site is encrypted and secure. (For a more detailed explanation, see the video below)
Why is HTTPS important for a news site?
For starters, it ensures that the information you are reading has not been intercepted and changed. You can be sure that any contact info on our bloggers’ pages has not been tampered with — which is vital for things like verifying PGP encryption keys and making sure you’re communicating with the person you think you are.
Secondly, it helps protect your browsing data from prying eyes — something that can be vital for political activists and others who may be under government surveillance. If you are concerned about surveillance, visiting HTTPS sites is only one step, however. You can find lots of useful information and tools for online privacy and countering surveillance here.
The past few years have taught us more and more about how little privacy we actually enjoy online, and here in Israel/Palestine the authorities have long sought to control the flow of information. Freedom of information and countering attempts at censorship are values we will continue to fight for in our work — as journalists, activists and social-justice conscious human beings.
From everyone at +972 Magazine, we wish you a more just, uncensored, and surveillance-free 2017.
Here’s a short video explaining the importance of HTTPS: