The Wall Street Journal recently announced that it has established a secure mechanism which allows "newsworthy" materials to be uploaded to its separate, but internal, secure servers. The new service, Safehouse, is a logical outgrowth of the age-old newsgathering function. When viewed against the backdrop of the notorious WikiLeaks controversy, the service appears a prudent - if perhaps overdue - innovation.

Given the WikiLeaks phenomenon, it is perhaps surprising that traditional news organisations have not previously moved aggressively into the digital technology age with their news-gathering activities. However, the Wall Street journal is nonetheless to be applauded for opting to enter the digital age on the input side of the process and create competition in this arena, just as competition among journalists has existed for centuries.

The presumption is the Safehouse upload process will be secure and apparently anonymous - the accumulation of anonymous and pseudonymous tips, leaks and leads has long been part of every investigative journalist's job. Other news organisations are also rumoured to be working on similar services. The Safehouse service will reportedly provide encrypted digital file transmissions and, according to its website, will seek to minimise the amount of technical information (in other words, traceable information) that the service receives on its servers.

For further information on this topic please contact Joseph I Rosenbaum at Reed Smith LLP by telephone (+1 212 521 5400), fax (+1 212 521 5450) or email ([email protected]).