Update: WSJ SafeHouse flawed by poor security, questionable policies

by David Solomonoff

The Wall Street Journal’s attempt to clone Wikileaks with its SafeHouse service for whistleblowers has come under massive criticism, both for its security measure and commitment to protecting its sources.

Jacob Appelbaum, a developer for the Tor anonymity network and a past volunteer for WikiLeaks, immediately spotted flaws in the encryption used when accessing the site.

Rebecca Mackinnon, a research fellow at the New American Foundation, also pointed out on Twitter that the site’s terms of use allow the Journal to turn over sources’ identities to law enforcement.

The Journal responded that, “there is no way to predict the breadth of information that might be submitted through SafeHouse, the terms of use reserve certain rights in order to provide flexibility to react to extraordinary circumstances.” They also promised to fix the security issues.

While Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has denounced direct-to-newspaper sites like this in the past, Dan Gillmore remains hopeful.
“These experiments are worthwhile,” he writes. “But it’s going to take some time before we can call them successes in any respect.”

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