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[liberationtech] Safer submission of content to news organizations

Martyn Williams martyn at
Tue Jan 17 08:39:36 PST 2012

Hi to all on this list. I've been following discussions here for a while
but this is the first time I'm posting.

I'm a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford this year, which means I have
a year off from reporting to follow projects that interest me and help
innovate in journalism in some way.

One of my two projects is focused on the security of consumers who
supply content (text, photo or video) to news organizations.

I see a lot of work being done on how citizens/activists/bloggers and
others can secure information on their end but I haven't seen much done
on the other end by the news organizations. Sometimes they offer little
more than an email address or Facebook page for submissions.

So my project asks: If news organizations are to solicit content from
people on the ground (and there are no signs this will stop), what can
they do to make it safer for those submitting the information?

Should they set up a dedicated server, rely on a cloud service, use a
certain type of encryption, base it on a particular technology, etc etc?

The goal isn't anonymity like Wikileaks - that brings a heap of
editorial problems with it - but making it harder for tracking to link
person A with news organization B. It should also be practical to implement.

It will ideally be based on open-source technologies that are freely
available and can be implemented by news organizations of any size.

If successful, I hope to present this to news organizations, push for
its adoption, and raise awareness of the need for media groups to think
about the safety of those sending content.

I welcome comments off list. If anyone has heard of or is working on
similar technology or has an interest in collaborating I'd love to hear
from you.

Martyn Williams
2012 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow
Stanford University
Cell: 650-391-4868

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