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Are you ready to be Deep Throat?

By   /   February 20, 2014  /   No Comments

By Jon Cassidy | Watchdog.org

securedrop_logoMaybe you’ve got a draft of a report that was rewritten due to political pressure. Maybe you’ve got a key piece of evidence that prosecutors never turned over to the defense. Maybe you’ve got the financial records that would expose what some scoundrel is really up to, or the emails that your agency should have turned over in a public records request, but didn’t.

Maybe you’ve got a job you’d like to keep, or kids you’ve got to feed, but you want to do the right thing.

We’d like to help.

We’re launching a new system today to enable folks to send us records anonymously. We cannot promise that it is perfectly secure, but we can say that it’s really, really, really good — the best system that we know of, developed by some of the smartest guys on the Internet. Our system uses SecureDrop, an open-source program developed by the late Aaron Swartz, a true American hero, with help from Wired editor Kevin Poulsen and security expert James Dolan.

The project was developed for The New Yorker, which launched its version, called Strongbox, last May. Since then, it was taken over the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which assists journalism organizations in setting up the program.

The system employs multiple levels of encryption, the Tor browser, the TAILS secure operating system, an airgapped viewing station that’s never been connected to the Internet, and multiple dedicated servers under our physical control at an undisclosed location.

For all that, it’s pretty simple on your end.

The first step is to download the Tor browser, which bounces your communications around a network of relays around the world. That keeps anybody watching your connection from knowing the sites you visit and keeps those sites from knowing your physical location.

Once you’re running the Tor browser, just paste in this URL to contact Watchdog.org — http://5bygo7e2rpnrh5vo.onion — and you can send us documents or other media files anonymously. That page will give you a code name so you can log in later to check for any responses from us, and to send us new messages.

We won’t have your code name, or any way to track you. We won’t record your IP address, not even the spoofed one on the Tor browser, or any other information about your computer. And the system doesn’t use cookies or any other manner of tracking, either.

In short, you don’t have to rely on our assurances we’ll protect your identity — even go to jail for a source — because we won’t know your identity unless you tell us.

For starters, we’re just publicizing this information on our Texas page, although we’ll certainly review anything else we receive from around the country. In a month or two, we’ll announce the program on the rest of our pages.

If you’re thinking about sending us something, if you’ve got something weighing on your mind, we encourage you to educate yourself on the system’s risks and capabilities. But not right this second. First download the Tor browser on your own computer, then start Googling.

See the complete instructions here.

Contact Jon Cassidy at jon@watchdog.org or @jpcassidy000.

 

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The SecureDrop submission system we use is a project of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

Click here to LEARN HOW TO STEAL OUR STUFF!

Jon Cassidy is the Texas bureau chief for Watchdog.org. He also writes a weekly column on politics for The American Spectator. He was formerly a reporter and editor for The Orange County Register in California and a reporter at The Hill in Washington, D.C. His work has been published by Fox News, Reason, The Federalist, Human Events, and other publications. He is a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow and a graduate of the University of Southern California. He and his wife Michelle live just outside Houston with their two children.

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