Skip to main content

In a bid to create a safe and secure way for sources and whistle-blowers to communicate with us, The Globe and Mail has become the first Canadian media organization to launch a system known as SecureDrop.

Already used by The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Washington Post and more than a dozen other publications, SecureDrop creates a channel for anonymous and encrypted Internet communications that can link potential sources with investigative journalists.

More information about the SecureDrop system can be found here.

Story continues below advertisement

This means that, so long as an individual takes reasonable precautions, he or she can communicate with The Globe and Mail newsroom in a way that prevents outside parties from intercepting the data or reconstructing the chain of communication.

The system was designed to preserve press freedoms in the Internet Age, freedoms that are in danger of being undermined by foreign hackers, organized crime groups and government agents looking to intercept sensitive communications.

"Strong news organizations rely on brave and often confidential contributors to ensure the news gets out," says David Walmsley, The Globe and Mail's editor in chief. "SecureDrop is the 21st-century equivalent of the manila envelope: It provides you with an anonymous venue for relaying material you believe to be in the public interest and you have no other way to get it out publicly."

"By being the first Canadian news organization to introduce this encrypted technology, we are signalling our intent at The Globe and Mail to chase the news aggressively and work with, and protect the identities of, confidential whistle-blowers from all walks of life," Mr. Walmsley said.

SecureDrop, developed in 2013, is distributed by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which sent two instructors to The Globe and Mail's Toronto offices to teach staff how to use the system.

The California-based organization is working to protect whistle-blowers against a backdrop of a growing number of prosecutions for leaks of U.S. government material.

"In the United States, the Obama Administration has prosecuted a record number of sources, actually more sources than all other administrations combined," said Trevor Timm, the executive director of the foundation.

Story continues below advertisement

He explained that such prosecutions tend to rely on U.S. government agents forcing telecommunications companies to surrender records of phone or e-mailed communications.

"What SecureDrop tries to do is take the third party completely out of the equation," Mr. Timm says.

SecureDrop routes messages and documents through the TOR network, a tool that obscures the specific pathways used by Internet communications.

Anonymity is built into the system, although people who want to use SecureDrop are cautioned to do so from a computer that is not controlled by an institution.

Messages and files that are uploaded are automatically encrypted. They can be decrypted only by a dedicated machine that is under The Globe and Mail's control. This machine is not connected to any network, including the Internet.

To read the latest reports from The Globe's investigative team, please visit tgam.ca/investigations

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter