The Stack Archive

Sun launches Tor-based ‘whistleblowers’ system for secure leaks

Mon 27 Apr 2015


British tabloid The Sun has announced a new secure drop scheme designed to encourage people to share information anonymously online as part of a ‘Whistleblowers’ charter’.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned paper follows a number of leading media groups in the UK and internationally – including the Globe, the Washington Post and the Guardian – in adopting SecureDrop software developed by activists Aaron Swartz and Kevin Poulsen.

“Over the last four years the establishment – including police and prosecutors – have conspired to make it harder than ever for their secrets to be exposed,” a report in yesterday’s Sun read. “We are giving whistleblowers – the unsung heroes of a free society – renewed confidence their anonymity will be protected.”

The UK-based red-top, infamous for its sensationalism, often exposes and targets high-profile figures including top sports personalities and politicians. The 2012 ‘Plebgate’ scandal, in which Member of Parliament Andrew Mitchell was accused of calling police officers ‘plebs’, was one such case that inspired front page headlines and TV news flashes for months across the country.

The Sun reportedly based its feature on a tip-off from a source within the police force. However, the authorities were able to trace the ‘whistleblower’ by accessing communications data, permitted through the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).

“The Met [Metropolitan Police] embarked on a two-year witch-hunt costing £296,000 — despite already knowing no criminal activity had taken place,” the Sun wrote. “The draconian RIPA law allowing police to eavesdrop without a judge’s approval was only meant for use against terrorists and the most serious crimes — not reporters.”

The Sun’s SecureDrop platform is available across the anonymous browsing software Tor and can be used to upload and encrypt files and messages.

Concluding its announcement of the service The Sun scathed: “It is the same system exploited by dissidents in oppressive regimes to mask their identity and location so they can contact the outside world safely.”


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