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GLOBAL-L  June 2013

GLOBAL-L June 2013

Subject:

SecureReporter platform (was: project collaboration tools?)

From:

Hans Staiger <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 10 Jun 2013 11:53:07 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (70 lines)

Colleagues,

Wow! Feeling somewhat overwhelmed with the response to this topic – in 
addition to all the on-list expressions of interest, I also received a number of off-
list enquiries. Thank you for your interest, and I apologize for the delay in 
getting back.

OK – firstly, some background information. ICFJ (the International Center for 
Journalists) was able to create the SecureReporter platform as part of a grant 
we received for the OCCRP network - many list members will be familiar with 
the work of OCCRP through Drew, Paul and others. 

In short, SecureReporter is a cloud-based platform that addresses three areas of 
security concerns:
1. It provides for secure file and document storage, for all types of files – doc, 
xls, ppt, jpeg, etc, but also including audio and video files.
2. It enables secure communications via chat and email.
3. It functions as a virtual newsroom: an Editor is able to work with a team of 
reporters to manage the workflow of stories from the first draft version right up 
to the publication stage.

There is also a whole bunch of additional functionalities: chat rooms, to-do lists, 
calendars, comments, announcements, etc.

All these functions can be performed on the platform itself. An individual 
journalist no longer needs to store sensitive information on his/her own 
computer. Document and file editing can be done on the platform. Chat and 
email exchanges stay on the platform. In other words: if an individual reporter’s 
device gets lost, stolen, confiscated or hacked, his/her documents etc are safe, 
and there should be no incriminating data on the individual’s computer.

One important proviso: the “virtual newsroom” function is aimed at web 
publishing; in other words: the finished product will be in html format, ready for 
uploading to a website – this is what we needed for our purposes. Individually 
stored documents and files can, however, be edited (and subsequently 
downloaded again) in their original format.

So much for the good (I hope!) news. Now for the not-so-good news …: 

1. We are only just beginning to work with this new platform. 
We have gone through a thorough de-bugging and security-testing phase. But we 
still need to collect more comprehensive user feedback, and we also plan to 
carry out a more extreme stress test to ensure that the system is as secure as 
possible. 
I hope you will understand that for these reasons alone we are not yet in a 
position to make the platform available to a wider public. 

2. Specifically responding to some of the questions: please bear in mind that the 
platform has been designed for use by organizations (or for project-based use), 
and not primarily for use by individual journalists. This can also be done, but we 
will need a little more time to ensure that such a function will also work 
smoothly - and securely: because security is the primary consideration for this 
platform.

I hope this answers at least some of the questions that were posted. 

Kind regards, 

Hans

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