ATHENS – With journalism under siege, Transparency International Greece teamed with the Australian NGO Blueprint for Free Speech to use Greece as the launching pad for secure digital drop boxes in 11 European Union countries to also help protect whistleblowers.
The EU-funded Expanding Anonymous Tipping (EAT) scheme brought together a panel of international experts for workshops with TI-Greece and Blueprint Executive Director Dr. Suelette Dreyfus, who helped push the European Parliament’s whistleblower reforms.
Dreyfus, known for her work with whistleblowers, cybersecurity and journalist protection, said EAT is a valuable tool for journalists to work with their sources to avoid being snooped on by governments trying to rein in leaks.
“It’s a game-changer, This innovative tech project is rolling out secure drop boxes to agencies and companies across Europe to prepare for the new EU Directive – and Greece is leading the way,” she said.
TI-Greece Chair Dr. Anna Damaskou said her organization “worked closely with the public procurement agency to successfully launch the first instance in Greece where a public agency set up a secure digital drop box for whistleblowing in partnership with the not-for-profit sector to fight corruption.”
EAT goes beyond Dropbox, which encrypts data – but which can be decoded if law enforcement agencies are looking for information – to offer journalists and whistleblowers an anonymous secure way to share data and documents.
The anonymous whistleblowing platform is provided by GlobaLeaks, an open source, free software that also enables users ranging from states, municipalities, civil society groups, non-profits, businesses, and accounting and law firms a safe resource too.
Through EAT, whistleblowers can also reveal wrongdoing and make complaints to journalists or other avenues without compromising their identity.
The goal is to reduce corruption that has become rampant, even bringing down governments, at the cost of the lives of whistleblowers and journalists being hounded to reveal their sources.
The Athens event was also used to showcase how whistleblowing laws were scoring across the EU, with the bloc’s directive tightening some protections for people who fear reprisals and retaliation. The reforms must be implemented by Dec. 17, 2021.
Bruno Galizzi from Spain’s Fundacion Internacional Baltasar Garzon, a leading partner of the EAT project, said: “We’re delighted to be launching the first secure digital dropbox in this EU-funded project – right here in Greece. The project will introduce the technology across 10 other countries in order to reduce corruption in the EU.”
Fabio Pietrosanti, President of the Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights in Milan, Italy, said EAT and the anonymous drop boxes are essential because “Government agencies and companies are increasingly interested in how they can find practical and economical solutions to address corruption and this is one.”
Other groups also involved in the project include Hungary’s Atlatszo, Romania’s Centrul Pentru Jurnalism, the Media Development Center in Croatia and Bulgaria, Oziveni in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and Riparte il Futuro in Italy and Malta.
The murders of investigative journalists Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta in 2017 and Jan Kuciak – whose fiance was also killed – in Slovakia in 2018 showed how dangerous the battle against corruption is, with reporters working closely with their sources.