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Aaron Swartz's legacy lives on: SecureDrop is a WikiLeaks for any journalist

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Aaron Swartz - SOPA (Flickr)
Aaron Swartz - SOPA (Flickr)

In May, The New Yorker revealed what hacktivist Aaron Swartz was building before his untimely death: an encrypted dead drop system that would let whistleblowers leak documents to journalists without fear of exposing their identity. The New Yorker launched its own implementation, Strongbox, and other media outlets were free to do the same — but in August, noted security researchers at the University of Washington reported that DeadDrop wasn't quite ready for primetime, citing issues installing and using the software among many other things.That's where Aaron Swartz's legacy stood — until today.

Today, the Freedom of the Press Foundation has announced that it has taken over the project, specifically hiring computer security expert James Dolan full-time to maintain the code, help media organizations install the software, and teach them how to use it well. The organization plans to address "virtually all" of the recommendations made by the University of Washington security researchers, and says it's already addressed a number of specific issues that were pointed out. While the Freedom of the Press Foundation is clear that SecureDrop isn't 100 percent secure, the organization says that it's the safest method for communicating with anonymous sources yet, and hopes to make it safer still. If you're interested, you can contribute to Aaron Swartz's open-source legacy at this Github repository.