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July 06, 2005

Public Whistleblower's Escrow

I must confess that although most of my passion about the Plame Affair is spent, the idea that Karl Rove is the dealer of dirt makes for a healthy bashing. I say whomever did it should go down, but I won't get particularly purturbed if it doesn't happen. Part of the reason has to do with the complexity of the shield privileges and my orientation towards technology.

I always believed that some private companies or entities (and I had always thought it would be banks until I realized how wealthy and powerful ISPs have become) would do the public a great favor by providing digital escrow accounts. The basic idea was for an individual to be able to do the 'swiss banking' thing with their digital data.

Anyway, cut to the chase, here's what I'm looking for. I am looking for bloggers and cypherpunks to come up with a way to shield and serve whistleblowers, and I want Pajamas Media to be the place. If you don't trust Time or the MSM, trust the blogosphere.

Now the only question is how.

Posted by mbowen at July 6, 2005 02:52 PM

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There's a great (fictional) novel called "Cryptonomicon" that you'd probably like. Covers a lot of what you're saying. But again, purely fiction.

Posted by: Kirk at July 6, 2005 03:14 PM

I know that book very well. It's a favorite - on the top shelf in my hallway. I'm sending a copy of this blogpost to Bruce Schneier who is the guy who invented the solitaire crypto described in the book.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 6, 2005 04:12 PM

Did you ever start or get through any of the 3 part series that followed it? Tried like hell and was bored to tears.

Posted by: Kirk at July 6, 2005 06:32 PM

I dug Quicksilver but The Confusion was too tedious.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 6, 2005 10:06 PM

Not sure exactly what you mean. There are ways to blog anonymously, but you probably know about those.

Posted by: ogged at July 6, 2005 10:52 PM

I know nothing about ways to blog anonymously, but it seems to me that it's important, for these purposes, that an ISP or the blog host have some immunity from subpoenas, warrants, etc. No?

Posted by: Kirk at July 6, 2005 11:19 PM

Here's what I wrote to Schneier, after thinking for a moment about a scenario.

Could internet media anonymously shield sources? If the Downing Street Memo had been leaked to say that new thing called Pajamas Media, and then an id trusted by 400 members of that group then forwarded it to Time magazine via PGP, could some such arrangement provide an effective shield?

I'm thinking of a situation in which there are 3 or 4 highly qualified journalist/editors in a crowd. The crowd knows that there are such individuals in thier midst but not exactly who. The crowd vouches for the anonymous entity that forwards the item in question to the public...

Assuming that the anonymous collective doesn't leak garbage & effectively cry wolf, could this survive a legal challenge, or is it likely that 400 witnesses would be called to the stand? What if it were 4000? What if it were the guy at Cryptome?

So I'm saying why not provide a facility such that whistleblowers and leakers could do their deeds without needing to reveal themselves to anyone.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 6, 2005 11:31 PM