WikiLeaks-Inspired Developer Behind Game-Changing “SecureDrop” Found Dead

The developer behind the game-changing, WikiLeaks inspired submission system “SecureDrop,” has allegedly committed suicide. 

“Second developer of WikiLeaks inspired submission system “SecureDrop”, security expert James Dolan, aged 36, has tragically died. He is said to have committed suicide. The first, Aaron Swartz, is said to have taken his own life at age 26, after being persecuted by US prosecutors,” tweeted WikiLeaks’ official Twitter account.

Gizmodo reports:

James Dolan, former Marine and co-creator of the whistleblower submission system SecureDrop alongside Aaron Swartz and Wired editor Kevin Poulsen, has died. […]

First deployed as StrongBox with The New Yorker, organizations such as the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Associated Press, and Gizmodo Media Group have all come to rely on SecureDrop—which allows highly secure communication between journalists and sources in possession of sensitive information or documents. As an industry tool, it has become invaluable for reporters.

Dolan joined the Freedom of the Press Foundation to maintain SecureDrop after co-creator Aaron Swartz took his life in 2013 at age 26, as pressure mounted in a federal investigation against him that many felt was overzealous.

Dolan’s friends are deeply saddened by the news.

“Very sad news. James Dolan, co-creator of @SecureDrop, has passed away at age 36. He was an amazing talent and a wonderful person. He will be sorely missed,” tweeted Trevor Timm, the Executive Director of Freedom of Press.

“Secure Drop co-creator James Dolan has passed away. A huge loss. His work did so much to make journalism safer—and potentially louder,” tweeted Joe Brown, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Science.

Reporter Ryan Tate tweeted, “As a journalist who uses SecureDrop every day, and as a citizen who wants more transparency, I am immensely grateful for the work of James Dolan, who I learn, only after his passing, took an 80 percent pay cut to keep working on SD.”

As Timm wrote in a blog post today, “It is impossible to overstate how fundamentally important James Dolan was to the development of both Freedom of the Press Foundation and SecureDrop.”


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