Likely the world’s most famous whistleblower has “quietly” been making sure that other whistleblowers stay protected. According to a report from Wired, even though he’s been living in Russia since 2013, Edward Snowden has quietly been serving as the president of Freedom of the Press Foundation, a San Francisco based non-profit, since the beginning of 2016.
The foundation’s goal is to “help support and defend public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government.” The organization’s web site notes that they “work to preserve and strengthen the rights guaranteed to the press under the First Amendment through crowdfunding, digital security and internet advocacy.”
In short, the organization aims to help media do their job in a time when investigative reporting is under more fire than ever before. With a staff of only 10 people, it’s a small non-profit. But their reach is much larger.
In the same interview with Wires, Snowden, speaking from Moscow, said FotPF was “trying to provide a few niche tools for journalists to make the game a little more fair,” adding, “Newsrooms don’t have the budget, the sophistication, or the skills to defend themselves in the current environment.”
Snowden himself was a former military intelligence officer who leaked the biggest collection of classified National Security Agency documents in history, exposing just how vast their surveillance network really was. He avoided detection by using anonymity software and encryption tools, but he said that’s beyond the reach of what many journalists know. Snowden said he wanted to make the process “paint by numbers instead of teaching yourself to be Picasso.”
FotPF is known for developing what they call the “SecureDrop” project. It’s an online submission system where people can submit documents to media organizations totally anonymously.
The fact that Snowden is helping fight for journalists is no surprise, considering his name is synonymous with the term “whistleblower” these days. As he resides in Russia to avoid espionage charges, expect his fight to continue.