Invasive spying on people’s communications chills freedom of speech. Increasingly, digital data fingerprints are making it difficult for sources to communicate safely with journalists. Blueprint’s Technical Program actively promotes digital security for protecting freedom of expression through two projects.
Ricochet does this by using the Tor network to create a hidden service. Ricochet :
- Eliminates metadata. Nobody knows who you are, who you talk to, or what you say.
- Stays anonymous. Share what you want, without sharing your identity and location.
- Means that nobody is in the middle. There are no servers to monitor, censor, or hack.
- Is safe by default. Security isn’t secure until it’s automatic and easy to use.
Metadata is like an electronic breadcrumb trail. It lets you find out who talked to whom, at what time, for how long, and how often. Even if you don’t know what was actually said in the conversation because it was encrypted, you can learn a great deal just from metadata.
When journalists talk to sources, it can be dangerous for the source because the metadata of the conversation can reveal the source’s identity. Using disposable email and chat accounts isn’t enough – the metadata created by these connections can still finger a journalistic source who might want to remain anonymous.
In some countries, just talking to a journalist can be life-threatening for those who expose corruption. Few chat programs even try to eliminate the identifying metadata, and these are unmaintained, poorly implemented or not secure. Unlike most chat software, Ricochet will not use third-party messaging servers.
Ricochet makes it safer for sources to communicate securely and anonymously with journalists – thus improving the climate for freedom of expression.
Blueprint is actively looking for partners to support adding new features, such as secure document transfer, to Ricochet. Please reach out to us if you would like to help: info at blueprintforfreespeech dot net.
Blueprint has supported the training of more than 70 journalists in technology security tools. We work to make sure journalists and their whistleblowers are kept safe by keeping their technology and communications secure.
We train journalists to think about their data hygiene more broadly, and teach them how to lift the data security of their sources directly, while ensuring their own digital security is solid.
We also teach tools for providing anonymity for whistleblowers reaching out to journalists, as one of many approaches to protect whistleblowers from reprisals when turning to the media.
Through our cybersecurity public outreach programs at public events, we have trained more than 200 people. Our programs build awareness and provided hands-on training on how to use tech tools for improving privacy-protection.