USA Today Is Courting Whistleblowers With Secure Website

USA Today is the latest publication to use SecureDrop

USA Today is the latest publication to use SecureDrop.
Headshot of Corinne Grinapol

USA Today joins the growing number of publications offering whistleblowers a more secure digital channel through which to send sensitive information to reporters against a backdrop of governmental investigations of leakers.

The site, called USA TODAY Network SecureDrop, was created in conjunction with the Freedom of the Press Foundation and uses Tor to encrypt communication. It offers instructions and tips for usage, including a suggestion to submit information over public wi-fi in a place that isn’t part of a user’s typical routine, as well as links to a Tor browser leakers can download, required for submission.

The inspiration for the site dates back to the Obama administration’s leaks investigations, but the need for such a site is reinforced by the Trump administration’s stance toward leakers, according to the announcement:

President Trump has given no indication that he intends to alter that course; in a combative news conference Thursday, he said he had personally asked the Justice Department to investigate leaks that have ranged from details of his phone calls with foreign leaders to information about an intelligence investigation involving some of his campaign aides.

The list of 29 publications that now offer secure sites for information-sharing through the Freedom of the Press Foundation-maintained SecureDrop include BuzzFeed, Vice, The New York Times, The New Yorker and the Associated Press.