In an important announcement, the New Yorker has launched ‘Strongbox,’ a whistleblower submission system that aims to allow for anonymous leakers to digitally hand off important information to journalists. The underlying code, called Dead-Drop, is an open-source project and was written by the Internet pioneer and legendary coder Aaron Swartz, before he tragically died in January.
You can read the underlying code here and the details for how it works and the background, written by the projects manager Kevin Poulsen, here. This launch comes at a critical time, as the AP announced just two days ago that the Justice Department had secretly obtained two months of call records for twenty different AP phone lines as part of an escalating leak investigation that has stifled press freedom.
Leaks, which are the lifeblood of investigative national security journalism, have never been under greater attack. The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than previous administrations combined, leading to a documented chilling of media coverage of critical issues. Several other broad investigations are still under way.