Secure messaging services

When contacting a journalist, it is important to think about how to protect yourself as a whistle-blower, and how to protect the information you want to share. To be able to communicate in a safe way is key to be a successful whistle-blower. Here are some tips.

PGP

PGP is an e-mail encryption service that is open-source and that has millions of users all over the world. It can be a bit tricky to understand exactly how it works, but it is the safest way to send sensitive information to a journalist. Here’s a guide to how to use PGP.

Find my PGP-key under Contact.

Signal

Signal is a mobile messaging app that is commonly used among investigative journalists all over the world. It works just like any other messaging app, but it is end-to-end encrypted, which means that only you and the recipient to your messages will know what you are writing. You can also do in-app-phone calls, and send pictures and other documents through Signal.

There are several other apps that provides almost the same feeatures. But I prefer Signal.

The right to be anonymous

As a journalist, I am dependent on people with information. And as a source of information, it is important that you know your rights before you turn over perhaps sensitive information to me or another journalist. Different countries have different laws about whistle-blowing, and the protection of sources within journalism. It is therefore important that you make sure to know what laws might apply to you.

Strong source protection-laws in Sweden

The Swedish constitution provides a particularly strong protection to sources and journalists. For examples, this means that the journalist or newsroom that has received information or a tip must not reveal the identity of the person providing the information, if this person requests anonymity. It is punishable for anyone who has received information anonymously to reveal the source.

As a whistle-blower, it is important that you inform the journalist that you want to be anonymous.

It is important to know that the source protection does not apply to serious crimes, such as espionage, high treason and a few other laws. In such cases, courts can order journalists to reveal their sources.

Do you work for a government agency or local authority?

Lucky you, because then, your protection is even stronger. When giving information anonymously to a journalist, not only is the journalist obliged to keep your identity secret, the authority you are working for is prohibited from trying to find out who the source is. It is punishable for an executive to ask you or your co-workers ’who leaked to the press’.

Also, if your boss somehow found out that you were the source, the law prohibits them from firing you or retaliate against you in any other way.

As of June 2017 the above also applies for employees at private contractors within education and health care, provided that most of their funding comes from public entities.