Tiplines Today
2019-10-22, 11:15–12:00, Europe

Nowadays, the majority of US-based newsrooms rely on primarily consumer-facing applications to facilitate secure communications with sources. Usage of tools like Signal, WhatsApp, Threema, and others, have spiked in usage as the most state-of-the-art way to ensure confidential conversations with at-risk leakers and whistleblowers. Documents flood newsrooms, sometimes in gigabytes at a time, and journalists need tools to interrogate that data in relative safety from device compromise, legal interception, all while getting the job at the accelerated speed of the news cycle. Let's explore how these tools, from both a technical and behavioral usage standpoint, make the news. Sometimes in a good way, when a story comes out after months of clandestine collaboration with sources, and toiling over data that needs to be interrogated; sometimes in a bad way, when sources get burned, or organizations endanger themselves.

With this talk, I aim to explain a theoretical bridge between hackers and other technologists; and the a special group of end-users (journalists and their sources) who are, often without their prior knowledge, at the complete mercy of tools they barely understand under-the-hood. This talk should be as satisfying for hackers as it will be for folks who love to hear spicy stories about the "sausage gets made" in contemporary newsrooms.