Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The New Yorker launches Strongbox, a secure way to send documents and messages to the magazine

Have we really reached the point where this is necessary? I guess the sad answer is yes. Today The New Yorker announced the launch of Strongbox, a place where people can send documents and messages to the magazine's staff with, as the magazine says, a reasonable amount of anonymity."

The new website is powered by DeadDrop, a server application that lets news organizations set up an online drop box for sources – think of it as that mysterious mailbox in A Beautiful Mind.

The system was put together by Aaron Swartz and Kevin Poulsen – Swartz, of course, is the computer programmer who hanged himself after being arrested by MIT police on state breaking-and-entering charges and being charged by Federal prosecutors with two counts of wire fraud and multiple violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Kevin Poulson has a post on The New Yorker's website on Strongbox and Aaron Swartz which provides more background on the project.

"Readers and sources have long sent documents to the magazine and its reporters, from letters of complaint to classified papers," writes Amy Davidson on The New Yorker's website. "But, over the years, it’s also become easier to trace the senders, even when they don’t want to be found. 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."