A Public Service

Whistleblowing, Disclosure and Anonymity

TIM SCHWARTZ



Buy This Book


PRE-ORDER NOW AND GET 15% OFF. BOOKS WILL SHIP IN SEPTEMBER.

Paperback:
$18/£13

15% off

add to cart
E-book:
$9/£8

15% off

add to cart
Print + E-book:
$22/£18

15% off

add to cart

FAQs and shipping information

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is an international, decentralized digital currency. Learn more at bitcoin.org.

 

Paperback:
$18/£13

15% off

add to cart
E-book:
$9/£8

15% off

add to cart
Print + E-book:
$22/£18

15% off
add to cart

FAQs and shipping information

About the Book

Governments and corporations now have the tools to track and control us as never before. In this whistleblowing how-to, we are provided with tools and techniques to fight back and hold organizations, agencies, and corporations accountable for unethical behavior.

Can one person successfully defy a globe-spanning corporation or superpower without being discovered? Can a regular citizen, without computer expertise, release information to the media and be sure her identity will be concealed?

At a time we’re told we are powerless and without agency in the face of institutions such as Google, Facebook, the NSA, or the FBI, digital security educator Tim Schwartz steps forward with an emphatic “yes.” And in fewer than 200 pages of easy-to-understand, tautly written prose, he shows us how. A PUBLIC SERVICE can teach any one of us the tricks to securely and anonymously communicate and share information with the media, lawyers, or even the U.S. Congress. This book is an essential weapon in the pervasive battle to confront corruption, sexual harassment, and other ethical and legal violations.

188 pages • Paperback ISBN 978-1-68219-222-1 • E-book 978-1-68219-225-2

About the Author

Tim Schwartz author photo

Photo © Mariona Vilarós
space after caption

Tim Schwartz has focused on data privacy and digital information as an artist, activist, and technologist. He is currently a digital strategist at Alley, a digital agency that collaborates with publishers to build platforms for the media, nonprofits and others. After developing technology to reunite missing people affected by the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, he began organizing the Missing Persons Community of Interest, which develops technology for reunifying families after disasters. Schwartz also co-organizes LA Cryptoparty and teaches techniques for challenging power while protecting one’s identity. He lives in Los Angeles.

Read an Excerpt

Protecting your identity is the priority, and anonymity is the key to success.

Anonymity is only possible when you can see yourself as the world does — as the world sees your identity — then figure out how to disguise it.

As someone ready to challenge power, you may have thought the information you want to expose is the most important thing you have to protect. Wrong. Your identity must be protected above all else. If you don’t protect it, you will be compromised. That can prevent you from exposing the information.

Your identity isn’t defined by simply your name, birth date, Social Security number, or any other basic piece of information. Your identity is also not limited to how you identify internally, or in terms of race or gender — it includes how you express yourself in the world, as well as how you are seen by governments, corporations, your social network, and even your family.

Data tracking and logging has evolved exponentially in the last few decades, and your identity is now bundled up in numerous systems that are hard to even conceptualize. Your identity now comprises a virtually infinite number of data points, including the products and services you use, who you communicate with, who your connections communicate with, what you do online, and where you physically go.

You are your habits.

The only real way to protect your identity is with anonymity. Divest your true identity from the acts you will perform that challenge power. The chances of retaliation are much lower if you are anonymous — it is harder to be retaliated against if no one knows who you are. Anonymity can also correct the power imbalance between you and the system you are confronting. The underdog can have a fighting chance.

Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, emphasizes the importance of being unknown. “What you’ll rarely see is the case of the person who isn’t anonymous and seeing them walk away unscathed,” she says.

As you proceed down the path of challenging the status quo and the powers that be, you may decide to be the public face of your cause. This can have benefits or drawbacks. But in order to have the choice to do so, rather than the obligation to do so, you must first be anonymous. If you aren’t anonymous to start, you will never get to decide if your identity will be made public. Instead, the decision will be out of your hands, and your identity will be at the mercy of your adversaries, the public, and perhaps the press.

So start by being anonymous. You can always decide to reveal your identity later on, but you can never get anonymity back once your identity is revealed.