How to securely share information with The Markup
Do you know of a possible story we should be investigating? Do you have evidence of corruption, wrongdoing, or crime? Not just speculation, but documentation—a video, audio, memos, records—that people are being misled or harmed in a way that is against the public interest? We want to help you securely share that information so our journalists can look into the matter.
We are a nonprofit news organization investigating technology’s impact on society, including the rise of the data-driven economy and the increasing use of personal data in corporate and government surveillance. We’re committed to protecting our readers’ privacy, and we will do our best to keep your identity under wraps if you have information or documentation that you want to get to us.
Below are several ways to share tips with our reporters and editors. Each offers different levels of privacy and anonymity, and no method of communication is 100 percent secure. When you send us tips, please be as specific and as concise as possible. And please do not use these channels to send feedback, story ideas, pitches, or press releases. We’d love to hear from you, but to send that information, please contact the appropriate reporter on our team.
You can also send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, which is checked regularly by our reporters and editors. Individual reporters also have their email address listed on their biographies. We recommend against using devices or email addresses controlled by your employer to send us messages, and if your tip is sensitive or you fear reprisal, we recommend using one of the methods listed below instead.
Encrypted messaging apps
Encrypted messaging apps allow you to communicate with us more securely than through email. However, it is worth noting that if your employer—or someone else you are concerned about—has access to your phone, traces of your communications with us could be found.
The Markup’s Signal number is (917) 407-0635.
Signal is an encrypted messaging app available on iOS and Android. Signal’s servers store your number, but they don’t store a log of who you communicate with, or who communicates with you. Before messaging us, you should consider setting messages to disappear after a short period of time. To do this, type in our Signal number and click on “New message to.” Then, before you compose a message, click on “Tap here for settings” and turn “Disappearing Messages” on, then adjust the slider to an appropriate time period.
Additionally, some reporters list their Signal number on their biographies.
The Markup’s WhatsApp number is (917) 407-0635.
WhatsApp is an encrypted messaging app owned by Facebook. Messages are sent using end-to-end encryption, which limits the ability of anyone but the sender or recipient to read them. However, WhatsApp still keeps records of the phone numbers and other metadata, including who you’ve messaged and when.
First class postal mail can be a secure way to send us files and documents because the Post Office cannot open your mail without a search warrant. It can, however, scan who is sending what mail to whom. So if you are concerned about your anonymity, please do not include a return address, and mail your package or envelope from a public mailbox far from your work or residence rather than at the post office. You can send us mail to the following P.O. box:
P.O. Box 1103
N.Y., N.Y. 10159
Note: Due to social distancing measures related to COVID-19, The Markup is currently unable to monitor SecureDrop submissions and we have therefore temporarily taken our instance offline.
SecureDrop is a system that allows readers to anonymously share information with us over the internet. The system uses encryption and Tor’s anonymity network to ensure that the information is transmitted securely and without leaking identifying metadata.
To use SecureDrop, you must first install Tor Browser. Do not do this on a device or network owned or controlled by your employer or someone else you are concerned about. To install, follow the instructions to download and install Tor Browser at torproject.org. Alternatively, and for added security, you can download and use the Tails operating system.
For greater security, we strongly suggest using Tor Browser or Tails only over a public Wi-Fi network in a location not connected to you.
Once you’ve installed and run Tor Browser, copy and paste the following into the address bar: izu43vpfn3do34cywtqnju5y6xgosnf3xkogcp4j7pli7v2tpkqtebad.onion
From here, follow the instructions to leave messages and files for our reporters and editors to check in a secured environment. As part of this process, you will be given a random “codename.” Memorizing these words will allow you to return to our SecureDrop page, enter them, and see replies from our staff.
More tips on tips
Here is additional advice, from Freedom of the Press Foundation, on how to share sensitive information: https://freedom.press/news/sharing-sensitive-leaks-press/.