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Keith Millea
05-18-2013, 05:57 PM
Published on Friday, May 17, 2013 by Common Dreams (http://www.commondreams.org)

Aaron Swartz's Last Gift: Site Launches Whistleblower Safe House


In era of "most aggressive government assaults on press freedom," new open source dropbox provides "secure route" for leaks

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

http://www.commondreams.org/sites/commondreams.org/files/imce-images/aaron_kevin-580.jpg

Kevin Poulsen and Aaron Swartz working out the kinks of their open sourced safe house. (Photo via The New Yorker)

One month before his January 11th suicide (http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/12), web pioneer and creative commons architect Aaron Swartz completed one last project—an "opensource drop box for leaked documents along the lines of WikiLeaks."

Launched Thursday, Deaddrop (http://deaddrop.github.io/) is the brainchild of former hacker turned Wired editor, Kevin Poulsen, who approached Swartz with the idea. Swartz built the code for the project—one last gift to journalists and whistleblowers worldwide and the open-source internet community.

"He agreed to do it," writes (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/05/strongbox-and-aaron-swartz.html) Poulsen, "with the understanding that the code would be open-source—licensed to allow anyone to use it freely—when we launched the system."

As the Obama Administration continues their dogged pursuit and prosecution of press sources and whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and while the news of the Justice Department's seizure of Associated Press (http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/05/14) records continues to swirl, newsrooms are frantically reevaluating their security procedures.

"With the risks now so high," said (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/17/new-yorker-strongbox-aaron-swartz-data-privacy) Poulsen, "it's crucial that news outlets find a secure route for sources to come to them."

The New Yorker magazine is the first to apply Deaddrop technology—posted under the name Strongbox—as a safe house for sources and journalists, allowing (http://www.newyorker.com/strongbox/#privacy-promise) readers to "communicate with our writers and editors with greater anonymity and security than afforded by conventional email."

Named in reference to the spy method of passing items or information between two individuals through a secret location, the system works by "allow for a two-way communication between source and journalist, and not just a one-way handing over of information," [I]The Guardian's Ed Pilkington explains (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/17/new-yorker-strongbox-aaron-swartz-data-privacy).

"Sources are able to upload documents anonymously," he continues, "through the Tor network onto servers that will be kept separate from the New Yorker's main computer system. Leakers are then given a unique code name that allows New Yorker reporters or editors to contact them through messages left on Strongbox."

In the era of "the most aggressive US government assaults on press freedom in a generation," this open source tool will offer a measure of protection to those willing to speak out.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/05/17-3

David Guyatt
05-19-2013, 08:04 AM
Named in reference to the spy method of passing items or information between two individuals through a secret location, the system works by "allow for a two-way communication between source and journalist, and not just a one-way handing over of information," [I]The Guardian's Ed Pilkington explains (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/17/new-yorker-strongbox-aaron-swartz-data-privacy).

"Sources are able to upload documents anonymously," he continues, "through the Tor network onto servers that will be kept separate from the New Yorker's main computer system. Leakers are then given a unique code name that allows New Yorker reporters or editors to contact them through messages left on Strongbox."

In the era of "the most aggressive US government assaults on press freedom in a generation," this open source tool will offer a measure of protection to those willing to speak out.


The problem with this is who can now trust the MSM to publish truly sensitive stories?

For example, quoted above is a journalist for the British Guardian newspaper and it is the Guardian newspaper who have been given a full copy of the said to be lost dossier compiled by the deceased Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens, that he personally handed to Home Secretary Leon Brittan (http://spotlightonabuse.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/leon-brittan-the-paedophile-information-exchange/)- and which Lewd Brittan lost and, strangely, these days can't even remember receiving. Ditto the 2nd dossier Dickens gave to the same Home Secretary - who has recently been named as being a "visitor" to the Elm Guest House (http://www.maxfarquar.com/2013/01/elm-guest-house-names-operation-fairbank/) gay & paedophile brothel.

Needless to say the Guardian has not published the Dickens dossiers.

The media cannot any longer be trusted - they form part of the problem and not part of the answer.

It is the newly emerging one-man/woman blogs and other internet based sites where real journalism is being done these days. they have no advertisers exerting pressure and, as yet, no security services breathing down their necks to suppress stories under national security protocols.