New Yorker launches online anonymous tip system

May 15, 2013
The New Yorker magazine is diplayed in an Upper East Side newstand in New York on October 9, 2012. The New Yorker magazine on Wednesday unveiled a new online system for anonymous whistleblower tips, based on technology developed by the late Internet activist Aaron Swartz and a former hacker.

The New Yorker magazine on Wednesday unveiled a new online system for anonymous whistleblower tips, based on technology developed by the late Internet activist Aaron Swartz and a former hacker.

The system called Strongbox was unveiled amid an uproar in the news media over the US government seizure of phone logs from the Associated Press, in a probe of a news leak which officials said threatened national security.

"This morning, The New Yorker launched Strongbox, an online place where people can send documents and messages to the magazine, and we, in turn, can offer them a reasonable amount of ," senior editor Amy Davidson said.

"The underlying code, given the name DeadDrop, will be open-source, and we are very glad to be the first to bring it out into the world, fully implemented."

Swartz, an activist who committed suicide in January as he faced a potential for breaking into a university research database, developed the system with Kevin Poulsen, a former hacker who is now an editor at Wired magazine.

The New Yorker said the system was designed to avoid putting at the center of investigations of news leaks.

"Readers and sources have long sent documents to the magazine and its reporters, from letters of complaint to classified papers," Davidson said.

"But, over the years, it's also become easier to trace the senders... Strongbox addresses that; as it's set up, even we won't be able to figure out where files sent to us come from. If anyone asks us, we won't be able to tell them."

The system aims to encourage the anonymous submission of newsworthy information, in the manner of and other Internet sites.

The set up its own tip system in May 2011 called SafeHouse.

Poulsen said Swartz agreed to work on the secure-submission system "with the understanding that the code would be open-source."

"The New Yorker, which has a long history of strong investigative work, emerged as the right first home for the system," Poulsen said in a posting on the New Yorker website.

Explore further: Dutch student sells his data for €350, but at what price privacy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

MIT to release documents about activist Swartz (Update)

Mar 19, 2013

(AP)—The president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced Tuesday that the school will voluntarily release public documents related to the prosecution of free-information activist Aaron Swartz, who hanged ...

Wall Street Journal launches WikiLeaks rival

May 05, 2011

The Wall Street Journal launched a WikiLeaks rival called "SafeHouse" on Thursday, calling for online submissions to help uncover fraud and abuse in business and politics.

Anger at suicide of US Internet activist

Jan 14, 2013

Angry activists poured scorn on prosecutors Sunday for leading an overzealous campaign against Internet freedom fighter Aaron Swartz, with his family suggesting it contributed to his suicide.

Recommended for you

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

23 hours ago

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

Apr 18, 2014

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

White House updating online privacy policy

Apr 18, 2014

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...