NEW YORK — Revelations over the past few years about how U.S. security officials have the ability to track people through phone, email and other electronic records are making it harder for journalists to report on what the government is doing, two human-rights groups say.
Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union said in a report issued Monday that access to data as detailed in leaks by former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden, coupled with the Obama administration's prosecution of people for leaking classified information, is having a chilling effect on reporters.
The groups are calling on the administration to be more upfront about the data it is collecting and how the information is used, and to increase protections for journalists and whistleblowers.
The same government access to information is eroding the ability of lawyers to protect the confidentiality of its contacts with criminal defendants, the report concludes.
Ninety-two people, including 46 journalists, 42 lawyers and some present or retired national security officials, were interviewed for the report.