Trustworthy Contacts for Whistleblowers ?

Unless you are making use of something like the defunct (so far as new submissions are concerned) WikiLeaks.org (see the Leak Directory wiki for possible alternatives) , or are using a scattergun approach by, sending anonymous letters or emails to a wide range of journalists, on a speculative basis, in the hope that they will somehow drop all their other work and concentrate on your leak, it may well be worth making informal, discreet contact with some people to whom you make choose to leak something in the future.

The scattergun speculative approach also runs an increased risk of "tipping off" your employers or the authorities about a leak, even before you have had any benefit of any publicity for the story. They may then instigate a Mole Hut or Leak Inquiry to try to track you down as a political damage limitation exercise, even if it is only a case of "going through the motions", to Pretend To be Seen To Be Doing Something, in order to protect "officially sanctioned leaks" and confidential briefings to the very same media organisations, when it suits the apparatchiki spin doctors and politicians.

Obviously if journalist, bloggers or independent regulators are under surveillance, which, does seem to be the case sometimes, then you need to take as much care with these initial, non-incriminating contacts, as when you do have something juicy to hand over to them later.

Here are some media and blogger contacts for, primarily UK Government Whistleblowers, who have some track record of discretion and actual wider publicity generation.

In no particular order of trustworthiness:

  • Guido Fawkes - Paul Staines - political gossip blog (unfortunately with many stupid and nasty anonymous comment contributors) which is widely read by "Westminster Village" journalists and politicians,

  • The Register - required reading for Information technology and privacy / surveillance state related news stories -
    John Lettice, John Leyden, Chris Williams

  • British Broadcasting Corporation - various radio and tv and web journalists, but they cannot pay for any stories.

  • The Sunday Times - David Leppard

  • The Guardian - David Hencke

  • The Daily Mail / Mail on Sunday - Jason Lewis

  • Evening Standard - Andrew Gilligan

  • WikiLeakS.org [no longer accepting submissions]

  • The Guardian , The Observer and Vanity Fair - Henry Porter - one of the organisers of the Convention on Modern Liberty.

  • David Davis MP - Conservative former Shadow Home Secretary - various Home Office immigration scandal whistleblower leaks

  • Dr. Vincent Cable MP - Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman - various Treasury and Banking whistleblower leaks, Parliamentary Questions about the "Wilson Doctrine" regarding the confidentiality of MP's constituency correspondence etc. [N.B. he is now a Government Minister, a position which seems to have silenced him on these issues]

There is also a role for Trusted Intermediaries and Middlemen, to act as cut outs, between the media and a whistleblower, especially if monetary payments are being sought.

Contact Spy Blog if you want us to suggest and pass on your details to some journalists, or bloggers, or other ombudsmen, regulators or politicians who we have had dealings with before.

email: blog@spy.org.uk

Spy Blog - PGP Encryption Key

About this blog

We know that there are decent, honest, trustworthy individual politicians, civil servants, law enforcement, intelligence agency personnel and broadcast, print and internet journalists etc., who often feel powerless or trapped in the system. They need the assistance of external, detailed, informed, public scrutiny to help them to resist deliberate or unthinking policies, which erode our freedoms and liberties.

Some of these people will, in the public interest, act as whistleblowers, and may try to leak documents or information to the mainstream media, or to political blog websites etc.

Here are some Spy Blog "Hints and Tips", giving some basic preecautions, and some more obscure technical tips, which both whistleblowers, journalists, and bloggers need to be aware of, in order to help preserve the anonymity of whisteleblowing or other journalistic sources, especially in the United Kingdom, but applicable in other countries as well.

Whistleblower anonymity may not always be possible, or even necessary, forever into the future, but it is usuially crucial during at least the early stages of a "leak", whilst it is being evaluated by others, to see if it merits wider publication and publicity.

Email & PGP Contact

Please feel free to email your views about this blog, or news about the issues it tries to comment on.

blog@spy[dot]org[dot]uk

Our PGP public encryption key is available for those correspondents who wish to send us news or information in confidence, and also for those of you who value your privacy, even if you have got nothing to hide.

Current PGP Key ID: 0xA165A29480CFAA4C which will expire on 6th September 2014

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You can download a free copy of the PGP encryption software from www.pgpi.org
(available for most of the common computer operating systems, and also in various Open Source versions like GPG).

We look forward to the day when UK Government Legislation, Press Releases and Emails etc. are Digitally Signed so that we can be assured that they are not fakes. Trusting that the digitally signed content makes any sense, is another matter entirely.

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Tor Hidden Service

In order to make censorship a little more difficult, a copy of this Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers guide is also being published as a Tor Hidden Service.

You will need to have installed the Tor software and established a working Tor connection, and then you will be able access this copy via end to end encryption and a high degree of anonymity through the Tor cloud:

http://r3lb3r3an7uj7bos.onion/

If you do not have Tor installed, you can still access this Hidden Service via the tor2web.org proxy: https://r3lb3r3an7uj7bos.tor2web.org/ still with encryption, but without as much anonymity.

Convention on Modern Liberty - 28th Feb 2009

Convention on Modern Liberty - 28th Feb 2009
Convention on Modern Liberty - 28th Feb 2009

The Convention is being held in the Logan Hall and adjoining rooms at the Institute of Education in Bloomsbury, central London.

Address:

The Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way
London
WC1H 0AL

There are video linked screenings or other parallel meetings being held across the UK in Belfast. Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff and Manchester.

Convention on Modern Liberty blog

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

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FreeFarid.com- - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

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Open Rights Group

renew for freedom - renew your passport in 2006
Renew For Freedom - renew your Passport in the Summer Autumn of 2006.

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

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Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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Wikileaks.org - the controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website based currently in Sweden.

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Public Concern at Work - "(PCaW) is the independent authority on public interest whistleblowing. Established as a charity in 1993 following a series of scandals and disasters, PCaW has played a leading role in putting whistleblowing on the governance agenda and in developing legislation in the UK and abroad. All our work is informed by the free advice we offer to people with whistleblowing dilemmas and the professional support we provide to enlightened organisations."