Digital Privacy Is a Big Concern in Europe. For This Reporter, Too.

How do New York Times journalists use know-how in their jobs and in their private lives? Matt Apuzzo, an investigative correspondent in Brussels, mentioned the tech he’s utilizing.

What are crucial tech instruments for you as an investigative journalist?

As with most individuals today, my go-to system is my telephone, which in my case is an iPhone X. I don’t use it for something significantly distinctive to journalism, besides possibly doc scanning. Sometimes, I may need solely a minute to see a key doc, and having it may possibly imply the distinction between breaking a story and never. For years I’ve used an app referred to as TurboScan Pro, and I adore it.

Tech is nice, however there’s no substitute for private relationships. I choose face-to-face conversations every time doable, and I virtually by no means file them. I exploit small, discreet notebooks just like the Moleskin pocket journal. Loads of my interviews are over espresso, drinks or meals, and I need one thing as unobtrusive as doable on the desk. I like the texture of the Rhodia pocket webnotebook, however let’s be trustworthy: I’m not choosy. Some of the most effective, most stunning nuggets of data have been scribbled on napkins or the backs of envelopes or tapped in textual content messages to myself.

I use a MacBook Pro, which I like for its full-disk encryption. But it devours battery life. Maybe it’s just my device, but it loses 50 percent of its charge while sleeping overnight, and Apple says there’s nothing wrong with it. So I followed the lead of another colleague, Eric Lipton, and invested in a power pack that can recharge both my Mac and my phone. I picked a unit from ZDI because Wirecutter recommended it, and I’m quite happy with it.

When I travel, it all gets tossed into an Everyday Max Backpack, which opens and packs like a roll aboard but carries like a slim backpack and includes a separate laptop compartment. All the cables are kept in check with the Grid-It organization system.

How do you keep communications with sources secure?

Before moving to Europe this summer, I spent about a decade covering national security and intelligence in cities like Washington, so I’m pretty security conscious. Before I left, a friend who works in intelligence offered a gentle reminder that most countries would probably consider me fair game for intelligence collection.

So I use a cheap Chromebook when traveling to places where curious eyes might be tempted to sneak a peek. I set it up with a burner account, and I never connect it to any personal or business accounts.

And all those note-taking apps? If I’m working on something particularly sensitive or talking to someone who is sticking his neck out by meeting with me, those notes often don’t get saved digitally. When the story is done, the notebook gets tossed and that’s the end of it.

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