How to Contact ProPublica Securely

Our job is to hold people and institutions accountable. It requires evidence.

Have you seen something that troubles you or that you think should be a story? Do you have a tip about something we should be investigating? Do you have documents or other materials that we should see? Below are a few ways to contact us as safely, securely and anonymously as possible.

It is always fastest and most efficient to contact an individual reporter directly. Look at our staff list. Click on our names to see what we’ve covered. We all include our contact information, including ways to reach us through encrypted apps such as Signal.

If you cannot find the right individual’s contact, we do have some newsroom-wide options detailed below. For most of those tips:

Read more about what we look for in tips.

If Your Tip Is Sensitive

Please keep your apps and your phone’s operating system up to date. Developers and manufacturers regularly fix vulnerabilities that may affect the security of your phone and your communications with us.

Signal

Signal is a free messaging app for iPhone and Android that provides end-to-end encryption for messages and calls. Signal does not collect any metadata regarding who you are messaging. The service only retains your phone number and the last time you accessed the app.

If you’re concerned about someone knowing that you have contacted a journalist, we suggest that you enter the reporter’s Signal number directly into the app — don’t add it to your address book.

Also: Messaging us on Signal does reveal your phone number to ProPublica. In some situations, you should consider using a separate phone number (such as a Google Voice number) for Signal communications.

Our newsroom’s general Signal number is +1-201-701-0850.

PGP

Some reporters use PGP (aka “GPG”) for email encryption as noted on their profiles. If you decide to use PGP, be aware that it only encrypts your message content and not the to, from or subject line of your emails. You may also consider registering a new, anonymous email address in combination with PGP.

If Your Tip Is Very Sensitive

Postal Mail

U.S. postal mail without a return address is one of the most secure ways to communicate. Authorities would need a warrant to intercept and open it in transit.

Don’t use your company or agency mailroom to send something to us. Mail your package or envelope from an unfamiliar sidewalk box instead of going to a post office. You can mail us paper materials or digital files on, for example, a thumb drive.

Our mailing address is:

ProPublica
155 Avenue of the Americas
13th Floor
New York, NY 10013-1507

It’s always helpful to address it to a specific reporter. Again, see our staff list.

SecureDrop

ProPublica uses a system called SecureDrop so you can share information and files with us with a level of security and anonymity that is far greater than is possible with other electronic means. Used properly, SecureDrop allows you to correspond with us in a way that shields your identity even from us.

Our SecureDrop server is only accessible using the Tor anonymity software. Although you need to download the Tor Browser to connect to ProPublica's SecureDrop server, it can be as easy to use as a normal web browser.

Do not download and install Tor on a computer that is managed by your workplace. For the best level of privacy, we further recommend that you use Tor and visit our SecureDrop using a public Wi-Fi network, rather than your home or work internet connection.

Here’s how to contact us using SecureDrop:

  • Visit TorProject.org and follow the directions to download and install the Tor Browser.
  • Launch the Tor Browser and allow it to connect. Then wait for a page that says a connection has been established.
  • Copy and paste the following into the Tor Browser address bar: http://lvtu6mh6dd6ynqcxtd2mseqfkm7g2iuxvjobbyzpgx2jt427zvd7n3ad.onion/
  • Follow the instructions on that website to send us files and messages. When you use the site, you will get a “code name,” which is your login for SecureDrop. You can come back and log in with this code name to submit more information and see if we have sent a response to you.
  • The SecureDrop link http://lvtu6mh6dd6ynqcxtd2mseqfkm7g2iuxvjobbyzpgx2jt427zvd7n3ad.onion/ is only accessible via Tor, and we do not recommend using any other website or software to visit our SecureDrop system.

Our SecureDrop servers are under the direct physical control of ProPublica. When you use SecureDrop, we are unable to record your IP address or information about your browser, computer or operating system. All files submitted to our SecureDrop servers are encrypted as they are received; submissions are initially decrypted and viewed on a computer that has never been connected to the internet. Unless you give us your name or other identifying information, we do not know your identity if you submit tips to us through SecureDrop. We use our best effort to remove identifying information and metadata from submissions.

Despite the design of the system, use caution when submitting sensitive information. Consider who may be watching you and be aware of identifiable information contained in your documents. We want you to be safe and to understand the risks you face before you send us anything. And if you’re using Tor, you can also read ProPublica more anonymously by using our “onion site” service: https://www.propub3r6espa33w.onion/

For extra security, you can also boot your computer from a USB key containing Tails, a secure operating system that does not leave any trace of your Tails activity on the computer you are using; the Tor Browser is included in the Tails operating system.

What We Look for in Tips

We read every tip that comes to us. But we have to make choices about which ones we explore. Here are some things to keep in mind when you contact us:

  • Tell us why your story is an accountability story. Who is being harmed? What, exactly is happening? How would we follow up?
  • Our stories are generally about systemic, not individual, harm. If you think your story is part of a pattern, help us understand the larger context.
  • Include any evidence you have that shows the harm you’re writing about. That includes text messages, emails, documents, receipts, photos, reports, documents and more.
  • If something is time-sensitive, please note that in your subject line or introductory text.
  • Please be as specific and concise as you can.

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