Tommy writes, "I'm working with Verso Books (which just published Gabriella Coleman's Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous to provide free encryption workshops to groups in NYC."
"Journalists, activists, and other surveilled parties should be able to communicate as securely as possible with confidants and sources. These trainings won't make you NSA-proof (there's no such thing), but it'll certainly mitigate many of the fundamental issues with dragnet surveillance. The trainings are for groups of 15+ and are free."
These encryption tools are pieces of software (for Mac, Windows, or Linux) which encrypt your files and/or communications. Surveillance makes whistleblowing much harder, and good digital security is crucial for journalists and activists, whether they're protecting their material and their sources from the NSA or from any other technical authority.
(Who am I? I'm a journalism student at NYU and a digital rights/LGBTQ activist who helps run events where people learn about privacy or LGBTQ issues. Sometimes, they're the same events.)
Everyone has something they want to keep private, and encryption facilitates that. Even if you don't believe you have anything to hide, you have a right to private communication. You should also be using encryption because the NSA thinks it's inherently suspicious to communicate in such a way that they can't read it. Using encryption for entirely innocuous purposes adds more noise to signal, giving cover to those who need it most.
Given that an effort to reform NSA surveillance just died in Congress, journalists, activists, and other surveilled parties can no longer rely on the US government to reign in US government surveillance.