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Securing Truth: The Intersection of Investigative Journalism and Cyber Security in Global South Nations

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Investigative journalism plays a crucial role in holding power to account, uncovering corruption, and promoting transparency in society. However, in the digital age, journalists are increasingly vulnerable to cyber security hacks and threats that can compromise their investigations and endanger sources. In Global South nations, where resources and infrastructure may be limited, addressing these challenges requires an adaptive approach that combines ethical deployment of cyber security measures with the principles of investigative journalism. This essay explores the intersection of investigative journalism and cyber security in Global South nations, focusing on ethical considerations, collaborative strategies, and the use of technology to safeguard information and integrity.

Investigative journalism plays a crucial role in uncovering corruption, fraud, and wrongdoing in various institutions. However, in recent years, journalists themselves have become targets of cybersecurity hacks in an attempt to silence their reporting and steal sensitive information.
Cyber security hacks targeted at journalists can take various forms, including phishing attacks, malware infections, and social engineering tactics. These hacks can compromise journalists’ email accounts, social media profiles, and even their devices, ultimately undermining their ability to conduct investigative journalism.
One high-profile example of a cyber security hack targeting investigative journalists is the case of the hacking group Fancy Bear targeting journalists at the Associated Press and other media outlets. Fancy Bear, a Russian hacking group linked to the Kremlin, targeted journalists in an attempt to access their emails and other sensitive information.
To protect themselves against cyber security hacks, investigative journalists must practice good digital hygiene, such as using strong and unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and being cautious of suspicious emails and messages. Additionally, journalists can use encrypted communication tools and secure file-sharing services to protect their sensitive information.
Overall, the targeting of investigative journalists through cyber security hacks poses a serious threat to press freedom and the ability to hold powerful institutions accountable. Journalists must remain vigilant and take proactive measures to protect themselves and their important work.
In today’s digital age, journalists face unique challenges in safeguarding their data and ensuring the integrity of their reporting. The increasing prevalence of cyber security hacks poses a threat to investigative journalism, undermining efforts to uncover the truth and hold power to account. While the Global South Nations grapple with these issues, there is a growing recognition of the need to adopt ethical deployment of cyber security measures to protect journalistic integrity. By examining the key issues, thought processes, and solutions at the intersection of investigative journalism and cyber security, journalists can harness synergies to avoid hacks and maintain their commitment to truth-telling.
Maintaining cyber security and integrity as a journalist involves a multi-faceted approach that combines awareness of potential risks, technical solutions, and ethical considerations. Here are some synergies for journalists to avoid cybersecurity hacks and maintain integrity:
1. *Awareness of Risks*: Journalists must be aware of the various cyber security threats they may face, such as phishing attacks, malware infections, and social engineering tactics. They should stay informed about the latest trends in cybersecurity and consistently update their knowledge about potential risks.
2. *Secure Communication*: Journalists should use encrypted communication tools to securely communicate with sources, colleagues, and editors. Encrypted messaging apps like Signal and secure email services like ProtonMail can help protect sensitive information from being intercepted.
3. *Secure Data Storage*: Journalists should store their data securely, using encrypted storage solutions such as VeraCrypt or secure cloud storage services. Regularly backing up data and keeping it encrypted will help protect it from hackers or unauthorized access.
4. *Password Management*: Using strong, unique passwords for different accounts is essential to prevent unauthorized access. Password management tools like LastPass or Dashlane can help journalists generate and securely store complex passwords for various accounts.
5. *Two-Factor Authentication*: Enabling two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to accounts, requiring a second verification step beyond just entering a password. This can prevent unauthorized access even if a password is compromised.
6. *Social Engineering Awareness*: Journalists should be cautious of social engineering tactics, where hackers manipulate individuals into divulging sensitive information. Being vigilant and verifying the authenticity of requests for sensitive information can help prevent falling victim to social engineering attacks.
7. *Ethical Considerations*: Maintaining integrity as a journalist also involves ethical considerations when handling sensitive information. Journalists should follow ethical guidelines and seek consent from sources before disclosing any information. Safeguarding the identity of whistleblowers and protecting sensitive data are crucial aspects of maintaining integrity in journalism.
8. *Regular Training*: Continuous training on cyber security best practices can help journalists stay updated on the latest threats and prevention strategies. Media organizations should invest in providing cybersecurity training to their journalists to ensure they are equipped to handle potential risks effectively.
Essentially, maintaining cybersecurity and integrity as a journalist requires a combination of awareness, technical solutions, ethical considerations, and ongoing training. By implementing these synergies and staying vigilant, journalists can protect themselves from cybersecurity hacks and uphold the integrity of their work.
In the ever-evolving landscape of digital threats and information warfare, the symbiotic relationship between effective cybersecurity protocols and principled investigative journalism has become increasingly evident. As we witness a surge in cyber attacks targeting media outlets and journalists worldwide, the need for ethical solutions to safeguard data and preserve journalistic integrity has never been more pressing. By exploring successful examples of how cyber security measures have bolstered investigative journalism practices, we can discern the crucial role that ethical deployment plays in ensuring the persistence and triumph of truth-seeking endeavours.
One notable example of successful cyber security ethical solutions combined with investigative journalism prevailing is the case of the Panama Papers, which was a massive leak of 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in 2016. The leak was obtained and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) by an anonymous whistleblower.
The journalists involved in the Panama Papers investigation, from news outlets across the globe, meticulously analyzed the leaked documents to uncover widespread tax evasion and money laundering schemes involving high-profile individuals, corporations, and even heads of state. The investigation shed light on the secretive world of offshore finance and exposed how the global elite used offshore accounts to evade taxes and conceal illicit activities.
In this case, the successful ethical solution was the collaboration between journalists and the ICIJ to verify the authenticity of the leaked documents and ensure accuracy in reporting. The journalists involved adhered to ethical guidelines by cross-referencing information, protecting the identities of sources, and verifying the legality of their investigative methods.
The Panama Papers investigation exemplified how a combination of cyber security ethical solutions, such as safeguarding whistleblower anonymity and secure communication channels, with rigorous investigative journalism practices can lead to groundbreaking revelations and hold the powerful to account.
This case underscores the importance of ethical considerations in handling sensitive information, the value of collaboration in investigative journalism, and the significance of protecting sources and data integrity in the digital age. It serves as a prime example of how cyber security measures can be integrated with investigative journalism to expose corruption, promote transparency, and drive positive societal change.
In the burgeoning realm of digital information dissemination and the continued prevalence of cyber threats, the dynamic interplay between adaptive investigative journalism practices and ethical cyber security deployment is particularly crucial in the context of Global South nations. As these regions contend with unique socio-political challenges and technological limitations, the need for a nuanced approach that recognizes the intersection of journalistic integrity and digital protection grows ever more pronounced. By examining how investigative journalism can adapt to these contexts while upholding ethical cyber security standards, a framework emerges for achieving a harmonious balance between information dissemination and safeguarding against external intrusions in the Global South.
In the Global South nations, where there may be limited resources and infrastructure for both investigative journalism and cyber security, a more adaptive and collaborative approach is needed to address challenges and promote ethical practices in both fields. Here are some key considerations for an adaptive view of investigative journalism and cyber security ethical deployment in Global South nations:
1. Capacity building and training: Investing in training and capacity building programs for journalists and cyber security professionals in Global South nations is crucial. Providing education on ethical practices, digital security, and investigative techniques can empower individuals to conduct thorough and ethical investigations while safeguarding their digital communications and data.
2. Collaboration and partnerships: Encouraging collaboration between journalists, civil society organizations, academia, and government agencies can foster a more holistic approach to addressing issues related to corruption, human rights abuses, and cybersecurity threats. By working together, stakeholders can leverage their respective expertise to amplify impact and ensure the dissemination of accurate and reliable information.
3. Use of technology: Embracing technology tools and platforms can enhance the capabilities of investigative journalists and cyber security professionals in Global South nations. Implementing secure communication channels, encryption tools, and digital verification methods can help protect sources, data, and investigative findings from external threats.
4. Advocacy for press freedom and privacy rights: Promoting press freedom and advocating for privacy rights are essential components of ensuring the ethical deployment of investigative journalism and cyber security measures in Global South nations. Protecting journalists’ rights to freedom of expression and access to information is crucial for holding power to account and promoting transparency.
5. Ethical considerations: Upholding ethical standards, such as accuracy, transparency, and accountability, is paramount in investigative journalism and cyber security initiatives in Global South nations. Adhering to ethical guidelines and principles can help build trust with sources, stakeholders, and the public while maintaining integrity in reporting and data protection practices.
Overall, taking an adaptive view of investigative journalism and cyber security ethical deployment in Global South nations requires a multi-faceted approach that prioritizes capacity building, collaboration, technology use, advocacy, and ethical considerations. By working together and embracing innovative strategies, stakeholders can effectively address challenges, promote accountability, and uphold human rights in the digital age.
In conclusion, in a rapidly evolving digital landscape, the ethical deployment of cyber security measures and investigative journalism practices is essential to ensure the integrity and impact of reporting in Global South nations. By building capacity, fostering collaboration, embracing technology, advocating for press freedom, and upholding ethical standards, journalists and cyber security professionals can work together to strengthen investigative efforts, protect sensitive information, and promote transparency. As we navigate the challenges of the digital age, stakeholders in Global South nations must continue to adapt, innovate, and uphold the principles of accountability, integrity, and respect for human rights in their pursuit of truth and justice. Through a collective commitment to ethical journalism and cyber security practices, we can create a safer and more transparent environment for investigative reporting to thrive and make a lasting impact on society.

♦ Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola is a Nigerian Professor of Cyber Security and Information Technology Management, and holds a Chartered Manager Status, and by extension, Chartered Fellow (CMgr FCMI) by the highly Reputable Royal Chartered Management Institute.

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Anthony Obi Ogbo

The HISD Nightmare – Superintendent Mike Miles Must Go

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“Initially brought in to facilitate a solution, Miles is now seen as the problem —Anthony Ogbo

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Since assuming the role of Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District in June of 2023, Mike Miles has consistently been making headlines, albeit for all the wrong reasons. Despite his responsibilities in organizing, leading, directing, policy-making, and execution, Miles has failed to pass every test required to excel in his position. Month after month, he finds himself under fire, with the latest allegations accusing him of misusing Texas public school funding. An investigation by Spectrum News revealed that Miles allegedly funneled public school funds from the state to a Colorado Charter School. This scandal comes at a time when the district is facing a projected $450 million budget shortfall, leading to proposed position cuts, including teacher layoffs and benefit reductions.

In response to the accusations, Superintendent Miles defended his actions, claiming that such financial arrangements are common between charter schools and their management organizations. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has initiated a review of the matter. Meanwhile, State Democrat Ana Hernandez has called for Miles to be removed from his position and for a thorough investigation to be conducted.

The challenges facing Miles go beyond the current scandal, as he struggles to lead the largest school district in Texas and the eighth-largest in the United States. Teachers are feeling distressed and uncertain about their roles, parents are worried about their children’s future, and students are losing interest in their education. The situation at HISD is dire, and it is clear that a change in leadership may be necessary to restore trust and stability within the district.

Just last week, displeasure among parents worsened as some pushed back against layoffs while others protested recent budget cuts. Despite the opposition, Superintendent Miles remained steadfast in his proposal to lay off employees, although he did not disclose the exact number of individuals who would be affected. The board had previously approved a comprehensive list of positions, spanning nearly 20 pages, that were at risk of layoffs, including teachers, principals, and custodians. HISD leaders emphasized that the teacher cuts were based on performance rather than budget constraints.

Miles acknowledged that he was unable to provide specific figures regarding the number of teachers or principals facing job loss, but assured that this information would be available in the coming weeks. Several teachers reportedly received notices to attend a Zoom call to discuss their future employment with the district, although the purpose of this call was not clear.

The contentious relationship between Miles and the HISD community seemingly began when he assumed his position. In July 2023, just a month after taking office, Miles disclosed during a virtual forum that the district’s central office was reducing its staffing levels by over 2,300 positions. This reduction included the elimination of 1,675 vacant positions and the layoff of 672 employees. Miles attributed this decision to the central office’s excessive growth over the past decade, despite a significant decrease in student enrollment by 27,000 students.

In August 2023, The Houston Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit against Miles and the board, accusing them of violating Texas Education Code requirements in the development of teacher evaluations. The teacher’s union alleged that Miles had created an illegal evaluation system without input from teachers and other stakeholders. The lawsuit was later dropped after the board of managers decided to use the state’s appraisal system for teachers instead of Miles’ system.

One of the key issues with Miles is his failure to thoroughly analyze the HISD operational environment before proposing his solutions. This lack of understanding often results in his recommendations being disconnected from the reality of the situation. Without a comprehensive assessment of the unique challenges and intricacies within the district, his strategies failed to effectively address the underlying issues and even led to unintended consequences. Indeed, Miles did not take the time to gain a deep understanding of the complexities of HISD before implementing his changes.

In any school district, the primary stakeholders are the teachers, students, and parents. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that other stakeholders also play a vital role in the success of schools. These include administrators, support staff, community members, and local businesses. Each of these groups brings unique perspectives and resources to the table, all of which contribute to creating a positive learning environment for students. By fostering collaboration and valuing the input of all stakeholders, school districts can enhance their ability to meet the diverse needs of students and support them in achieving academic success. This approach stands in stark contrast to the leadership perspectives held by Miles, which do not prioritize such inclusive and cooperative practices.

Initially brought in to facilitate a solution, Miles is now seen as the problem. He was thought to be the key to resolving the issue at hand, given his expertise and experience, making him the obvious choice to lead the team. However, as time passed, it became evident that Miles was hindering progress rather than aiding it. His stubbornness, lack of communication, and unwillingness to consider alternative perspectives were causing tension within the group and impeding any real solutions from being reached. It was increasingly clear that Miles himself was the primary obstacle standing in the way of a resolution.

HISD would need to address this issue with TEA if they are ever going to move forward and achieve their goals. Removing Miles from his position would allow for a fresh start and a more collaborative approach to problem-solving, ultimately benefiting the students, teachers, and community as a whole. It is time for HISD to move forward without Miles at the helm.

♦Publisher of the Guardian News, Journalism and RTF Professor, Dr. Anthony Obi Ogbo, is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. He is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

Texas Guardian News
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Navigating Bias and Ethics in AI-Powered Cybersecurity: The BRACE Framework Approach

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In the dynamic landscape of cybersecurity, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) systems has ushered in a new era of technological advancements and capabilities. However, with the increasing reliance on AI for cybersecurity operations, the prevalence of biases and ethical dilemmas within these systems has emerged as a critical concern. To address these challenges and foster more trustworthy and reliable AI technologies in the cybersecurity domain, the BRACE framework encapsulates a structured approach encompassing key components focused on bias identification, mitigation, ethical considerations, collaboration, and engagement. This framework serves as a cornerstone for stakeholders to navigate the complex terrain of AI ethics and biases, ensuring that AI systems in cybersecurity align with principled guidelines and societal expectations.

The BRACE framework presents a comprehensive and integrative approach towards enhancing the functionality and ethical integrity of AI systems operating within the realm of cybersecurity. Let’s delve deeper into the key components outlined within this framework:
1. Bias Identification: The foundational step of bias identification involves a meticulous examination of various facets of AI systems – from their design to the data they ingest, and the decision-making processes they employ. By scrutinizing these elements, potential biases can be unearthed, thereby shedding light on any factors that may impede the system’s performance.
2. Bias Mitigation: In the wake of identifying biases, the subsequent phase revolves around formulating tailored strategies to effectively tackle and mitigate them. This may encompass initiatives such as retraining algorithms with more inclusive datasets, fostering transparency in decision-making algorithms, and embodying oversight mechanisms to swiftly identify and rectify biases in real time.
3. Ethical Considerations: The incorporation of ethical considerations forms a pivotal component of the BRACE framework. This entails ensuring that AI systems adhere to a set of principled guidelines ranging from fairness and transparency to accountability and privacy. Moreover, a conscientious evaluation of the potential societal repercussions stemming from AI systems in cybersecurity is imperative to prevent any adverse effects on vulnerable communities or the perpetuation of existing disparities.
4. Collaboration and Engagement: An emphasis on collaboration and engagement with a broad spectrum of stakeholders is advocated within the BRACE framework. By fostering dialogue and partnerships amongst cybersecurity experts, AI researchers, policymakers, and affected communities, a diverse array of perspectives can be harnessed to cultivate robust solutions that effectively address biases and ethical concerns within AI systems utilized in cybersecurity.
Ultimately, the overarching objective of the BRACE framework is to establish a structured and holistic approach towards fostering the reliability and trustworthiness of AI technologies operating within the cybersecurity domain. By systematically addressing biases and ethical dilemmas through a synergistic blend of proactive measures and collaborative efforts, the BRACE framework endeavours to fortify the ethical foundations and operational efficacy of AI systems in cybersecurity.
In conclusion, the BRACE framework emerges as a beacon of guidance in the realm of AI systems in cybersecurity, offering a roadmap for navigating the intricate landscape of biases and ethical considerations. By illuminating potential biases, devising tailored mitigation strategies, incorporating ethical principles, and fostering collaboration, the framework paves the way for the development of AI technologies that not only excel in performance but also uphold ethical standards and societal values. As the cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve, the integration of the BRACE framework stands poised to shape a future where AI systems operate with transparency, fairness, and accountability, ultimately instilling confidence in their reliability and ethical integrity. Through the concerted efforts of diverse stakeholders and the adoption of structured frameworks like BRACE, the cybersecurity community can stride towards a future where AI technologies serve as trusted allies in safeguarding digital assets and upholding cybersecurity standards.

♦ Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola is a Nigerian Professor of Cyber Security and Information Technology Management, and holds a Chartered Manager Status, and by extension, Chartered Fellow (CMgr FCMI) by the highly Reputable Royal Chartered Management Institute.

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The Call for Reform: Embracing Chief Awolowo’s Vision for a Better Nigeria

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As we celebrate the 115th Posthumous birthday of Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Oyeniyi Iyanda Awolowo, GCFR, it is essential to reflect on the valuable lessons that today’s politicians can learn from his exemplary leadership. Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a visionary and transformative leader, left a lasting legacy of progressive governance, innovative policies, and unwavering commitment to the betterment of Nigeria. Chief Awolowo’s emphasis on reform to drive progress, development, and prosperity for all Nigerians remains as relevant today as it was during his tenure. In honouring Chief Awolowo’s birthday, it is fitting to consider how his principles can guide policymakers in navigating the complexities of modern governance and leading Nigeria toward a brighter and more sustainable future.

Reflecting on the indelible mark he left on Nigeria through his visionary leadership, particularly his groundbreaking free education policy, Chief Awolowo’s legacy continues to resonate with many Nigerians, myself included. Personally, I owe much of who I am today to the opportunities afforded to me through this policy. In honour of Chief Awolowo’s birthday, it is fitting to explore and celebrate his attributes that today’s politicians can emulate for the betterment of our nation.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo was a visionary leader who played a key role in shaping modern Nigeria. His commitment to the principles of justice, equity, and progress made him a champion of the common man and a symbol of good governance. As we celebrate his 115th Posthumous birthday, it is important to reflect on his legacy and the values he stood for.

 

♦ Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola is a Nigerian Professor of Cyber Security and Information Technology Management, and holds a Chartered Manager Status, and by extension, Chartered Fellow (CMgr FCMI) by the highly Reputable Royal Chartered Management Institute.

Texas Guardian News
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