Join us for a SecureDrop hackathon at Aaron Swartz Day this weekend in San Francisco

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Promoting press freedom in the 21st century

Aaron Swartz
Sage Ross (Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License)

Aaron Swartz was a brilliant computer scientist, a passionate digital rights activist, and a dear friend to many. He believed fiercely in freedom of speech and information, and dedicated his brief but full life to building the open web, defending civil liberties, and making the world a safer place for whistleblowers and activists.

He was one of the creators of SecureDrop, then called DeadDrop, which allows sources to submit information anonymously to journalists. Aaron tragically took his own life in January 2013, in the midst of aggressive United States efforts to prosecute him under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for allegedly downloading academic articles. His legacy lives on through projects like SecureDrop, which Freedom of the Press Foundation has maintained since shortly after his death.

Every year, the Internet Archive hosts Aaron Swartz Day in San Francisco in Aaron’s honor. This year’s Aaron Swartz Day will take place this weekend on November 10 and 11, and you’re invited to join us for two days full of talks about privacy and internet freedom, trainings, and hackathons on privacy-preserving projects like SecureDrop.

As part of the event, Freedom of the Press Foundation helps host a SecureDrop hackathon at the Internet Archive in San Francisco in Aaron’s honor. We’ll be demonstrating our prototype of an integrated workstation based on Qubes OS, which aims to make SecureDrop significantly more user-friendly for the many news organizations that use it, by combining the previously separate Journalist Workstation and Secure Viewing Station into a single device, the SecureDrop Workstation.

It you’re interested in contributing to SecureDrop, Aaron Swartz Day is a great time to do so. We’ll be working on the upcoming SecureDrop journalist GUI application (a component of the SecureDrop Workstation) during the hackathon. Freedom of the Press Foundation staff, including Lead Developer Jennifer Helsby, will be present to work alongside any volunteers on open issues.

On Saturday night, several great speakers—such as EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Internet Archive’s Brewster Kahle—will reflect on Aaron’s legacy and the issues he cared about most. During the program, Jen Helsby will be giving a presentation about all the progress made on SecureDrop during Saturday night’s festivities as well. You can also see Freedom of the Press Foundation executive director Trevor Timm interview writer and activist Barrett Brown.

We continue to be inspired by Aaron Swartz’ leadership and commitment to civil liberties and online freedom, on Aaron Swartz Day and beyond. You can RSVP here. We hope to see you on November 10 and 11!