Fol­lowing the news last week that the Depart­ment of Jus­tice had secretly obtained records of phone calls made by the Asso­ci­ated Press in an attempt to find an infor­ma­tion leak, the New Yorker mag­a­zine launched an online scheme to receive sen­si­tive doc­u­ments and pre­serve the iden­tity of their sources.

The ser­vice, called Strongbox, is based on a project devel­oped by Kevin Poulsen, a Black Hat hacker turned mag­a­zine editor, and Aaron Swartz, who took his own life in Jan­uary after an aggres­sive pros­e­cu­tion of his dig­ital activ­i­ties by the DOJ.

Strongbox is an elab­o­rate system involving Tor, a net­work designed to pre­serve the anonymity of its users; mul­tiple com­puters; mul­tiple thumb drives and PGP encryp­tion. While the Byzan­tine arrange­ment pro­vides strong pro­tec­tion of the iden­tity of a source, it removes an impor­tant ele­ment in the process: authentication.

When you’re dealing with anony­mous sources, they’re not anony­mous to you; you know who they are,” Dan Kennedy, an assis­tant jour­nalism pro­fessor school at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, said in an interview.

Read the article at Network World →