In an effort to protect government whistleblowers from unprecedented levels of surveillance, the Freedom of the Press Foundation has launched SecureDrop, an anonymous submission tool for secure communications between sources and journalists. SecureDrop accepts encrypted documents and tips from sources and facilitates communication without putting journalists in jeopardy of having to reveal sources under the threat of imprisonment.
The need for security is heightened given the Obama Administration’s aggressive prosecution of leakers under the Espionage act. Last Spring, for instance, the Justice Department seized the phone records of AP journalists involved in reporting a foiled bomb plot in Yemen.
“One of the reasons that the Obama administration has prosecuted so many whistleblowers is that there’s an easy way to find digital trails of how journalists meet sources and talk to them,” said Freedom of the Press Foundation Executive Director, Trevor Timm. “We need to figure out a way for journalists to talk to sources without that fear.”
SecureDrop was originally the project of fallen hacktivist, Aaron Swartz (then called DeadDrop). The project has since been updated to account for recent National Security Agency spying revelations, though the organization reminds reporters than nothing is 100% secure. The code base is open source and has been vetted by security experts from the University of Washington [PDF].
Freedom of the Press Foundation has even offered to help outlets install the rather complex encryption tool. Learn more about it here.