In the post-Snowden world in which we live, with government and corporate surveillance a reality, it has become critically important for journalists and whistleblowers to take every precaution to ensure their digital safety.
Enter afriLeaks, a joint project of the African Network of Centres for Investigative Reporting and the Hermes Centre for Transparency and Digital Human Rights. In partnership with a network of African media houses, of which the Mail & Guardian is the only South African partner, this project aims to make leaking and whistle-blowing safer.
AfriLeaks is an offshoot of GlobaLeaks, an initiative which aims to help media houses in Europe in the same way.
We are confident that afriLeaks is the safest way to anonymously leak to us. We take the safety of our sources very seriously, and strongly recommend that whistleblowers use this programme when leaking sensitive information to us.
How to leak
The afriLeaks site explains exactly how to go about this. There’s a really good, step-by-step guide explaining how to upload documents, how to secure devices as much as possible, and how to keep in touch with us once whistleblowers have made contact.
The afriLeaks team has done everything possible to keep whistleblowers’ locations and names anonymous, but advise people to read the information provided on the afriLeaks page under “how to leak” and “your safety”.
It is really important that users install the TOR browser on their computer. We cannot guarantee anonymity and security to the fullest extent if users don’t do this. There are always risks involved in leaking, and while we will do everything we can to protect users, our sources, we need people to be aware of the risks involved.
For example, we strongly advise against leaking to us from work computers.
After whistleblowers have made contact with us, we can only access their information via a separate computer that is specially programmed with the toughest encryption software out there. We cannot access users’ information from any other device or email account that is not encrypted in this way.
We can’t promise that every tip-off will turn into a story. But we can promise that each tip-off will be looked at, and that we will try to respond to every tip-off as often as we can.
The chances of us being able to do justice to leaks are greatly improved if users can give us as much information as they can. This includes documentation and an explanation of the story.
The M&G team.