That's awesome. How long will it take the NSA to demand a back door?
This is going to be a stupid question, I realize, but unless this site is used heavily by a very large population, won't be fairly easy for the NSA to figure out who is making submissions? If they are tracking all internet activity they know where it originates, although they can't read the encrypted correspondence, the person then has to go to a library or some other public place not to be identifiable, right?
I think you answered your own question!
But then who knows what kind of spyware the NSA will put on library PCs, or cameras, and so on?
It's true, nobody knows. But this tool, combined with using some kind of open terminal, may help.
If I was going to leak something, I'd do it from an internet cafe in another country.
Interesting idea, but I think it has a basic problem: If you don't know who the source is, it's very hard to know whether you should give the information any credence. Real information may be buried under wackos who want the newspaper to investigate the alien invasion plans scrawled on the wall of a public rest room, or (to use a more recent example) are certain they're working with federal agencies but are hopelessly deluded. Or by people who want to get a story out despite it's being false, because they're trying to manipulate politics. Or....
And any supporting information the tipster provides will tend to chip away at their anonymity. ("Who has access to both pieces of information?")
There's certainly some value to anonymous tips. They may get reporters pointed in interesting directions. So this is interesting in the "much better than nothing" sense. But I don't think it's as useful as it may appear at first glance.
It's a start. More tools will be developed. The solution to this problem will be political and technological. The technology will come first because there are not barriers. The political is fraught with barriers but that will be defeated and I believe sooner than we think. Billions of eyes are focus on the problem. Billions of hands will fix it. Trillions of dollars are on the way too.
I have to agree, but with trepidation. Given recent revelations about the NSA's technological reach, planners and programmers will certainly think more deeply about the security of their products, which will then increase the security of the end users using those products (that's a generalization, but notice how much the implementation of SSL cut down on the NSA's ability to grab address books and the like). That said, state-sponsored spying will always be difficult to defeat given the resources they can bring to bear. But we've gotta start somewhere...
Why the proclivity to use the female pronoun? I notice this often in technical books as well. Are the majority of whistleblowers women? Isn't the proper practice to avoid engendered language by defaulting to the plural?
Posts like this really remind me of what a public service Boing Boing is. Thank you, Xeni!
No. Currently there is very little consensus on proper practice, and "pick your example individuals randomly", "alternate genders", or "avoid gendered language despite the often stilted results" all have backers.
There really is no good neuter third-person pronoun in English; "they" is abused for the purpose but is still incorrect by many for that purpose. Switching entirely to plural is not always acceptable as an alternative, depending on what the writer is trying to say. Continuously using formulations like "the writer" also produces awkward formulations in many cases.
One can always use first or second person, but many style guides go ballistic when one does so. One can refer to "one", but that gets old fast.
So... Do the best you can, don't stress about it, don't stress about what others are doing unless you really think they're doing it maliciously.
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