Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 10:53 AM
It’s a sign of the times: Many news agencies in Washington now are accepting various forms of leaked information.
It used to be that anonymous tips would come through a phone call or snail mail. Now, journalists are using apps that encrypt text messages from sources, and many media agencies are promoting secure document drops.
“If you’re trying to protect your source, in this day and age, encryption is a requirement,” says Skylar Nagao, chief product officer with Montreal-based Peerio. “Having spoken with many journalists, people who are aware of their high-risk sources consider it a moral obligation to use encryption to protect them.”
Encryption itself has become much more mainstream. It’s what prevents people from reading messages and essentially keeps them private.
Mashable has a senior editor with a Peerio account for just this purpose. Several folks with The New York Times also list Peerio accounts in their profiles.
Want to reach The Associated Press? Here’s how you can submit a confidential tip.
And, if you’re trying to reach The New York Times newsroom, there are several ways for sources to get in touch.Skylar Nagao, chief product officer at @Peerio.
In light of hacking and fear of an information crackdown, there are plenty of tools to help protect one’s anonymity. And, more news agencies are climbing on board.
Politico currently is hammering out its plan, says an editor, who asked not to be named.
The Washington Post offers seven ways for sources and whistleblowers to get information to its reporters.
These include Signal, Peerio, WhatsApp, Pidgin, Encrypted Email, SecureDrop, and Postal mail to the News Lockbox.
“No system is 100 percent secure, but these tools attempt to create a more secure environment than that provided by normal communication channels,” the Post says.
In addition to using one of the above tools, The Post suggests sources use a secure computer to communicate (one that doesn’t maintain enterprise software or malware that could record activities) and “delete trails of communication that you store on your computer, such as copies of messages or your secure codename assigned when using the service.”Tips and Confidential News Sources — The New York Times
What’s to Come
Is it risky? Sure. The New York Times wrote about this in The Media’s Risky Love Affair with Leaks.
“By virtue of their unvarnished nature, leaks have evolved into the realest of facts,” says John Herrman, a David Carr fellow at The New York Times, in his piece.
Skylar Nagao, chief product officer at @Peerio.
A relative new player to this scene, Peerio has been around a couple of years. Its target mostly was business and organizational use. Peerio allows an unlimited number of files to be uploaded, and these files are entirely encrypted, meaning only you and your intended recipients have access.
Want to transfer a large, 400 MB video file? No problem. Nagao says Peerio features end-to-end encryption, and the encryption starts on your computer.
“It’s like you put your file into a safe that only you have the key to,” he explained. “And every file you upload has its own little ‘safe.’”
Plus, Peerio is portable and fast. It has a username and password-type login, using fairly advanced cryptography.
Let’s Discuss Tips
So what makes a good news item?