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This film tells the story of SecureDrop, an anonymous whistleblower upload system, originally developed by Kevin Poulsen & Aaron Swartz
This film tells the story of SecureDrop, an anonymous whistleblower upload system, originally developed by Kevin Poulsen & Aaron Swartz
148 backers pledged $24,002 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$24,002

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Thanks for successfully funding this project! I now have the funds to complete the film and get it released in Spring 2016! If you would like to know more about the documentary, “From DeadDrop to SecureDrop,” please visit http://www.aaronswartzday.org/deaddrop-to-securedrop where I will be posting regular updates about the film and how you can watch it once it is released.

Like Aaron Swartz, we can make the world a better place through justice, fairness, transparency and accountability. Through your support and participation of this project, I hope to teach others to do the same.

Thank you for helping change the landscape of journalism.

My deepest gratitude, 

Lisa Rein

A Culture of Mass Surveillance 

We live in an age of unabashed government surveillance. The Obama Administration has engaged in an unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers, even when it’s apparent that the information they release is clearly in the public interest. Ed Snowden recently informed us that every single American is having their 4th Amendment rights violated, every second of every day, and a Federal Appeals court agreed with him, ruling that the entire surveillance program is completely unconstitutional, operating outside of the law, and in fact, in direct violation of it. 

In 2012, Kevin Poulsen and the late Aaron Swartz first prototyped “DeadDrop,” what would become the “SecureDrop” whistleblower upload system. SecureDrop enables ordinary people to anonymously upload documents directly to the news organization of their choice, in order to “blow the whistle” on corruption they’ve encountered.

There are not enough non-technical, average folks around the world who recognize this symbol, and how it can protect them.
There are not enough non-technical, average folks around the world who recognize this symbol, and how it can protect them.

SecureDrop provides an anonymous and secure way for sources to provide tips and documents to journalists, but many people still haven't heard about it. I’m making this film to get the word out about how SecureDrop makes it easy to do the right thing and expose corruption.

"From DeadDrop to SecureDrop," is a new film by Lisa Rein, that tells the story of how “SecureDrop” was created to help protect sources — individuals who might not come forward otherwise due the prospect of relentless government persecution and being penalized for telling the truth. Through the film’s simplified format, our intent of this film is both to educate and to inspire potential whistleblowers to take action the next time they encounter corruption they don’t wish to condone and be a part of.

Lisa Rein, Aaron Swartz, & Larry Lessig -- Creative Commons 2002
Lisa Rein, Aaron Swartz, & Larry Lessig -- Creative Commons 2002

Lisa Rein is a co-founder of Creative Commons, and worked with Aaron Swartz, when he was 15, developing the Creative Commons technical specification. As the organizer for the Aaron Swartz Day and Aaron Swartz International Hackathon that takes place every year in November, on what would have been Aaron’s birthday weekend, she began filming what she thought would be a 15 minute movie about the two or three people involved in SecureDrop’s transition. However, the story kept getting more and more interesting, and every time she did an interview, she would learn about one or two more people who were involved, were intriguing, and were willing to be interviewed about it. 

Meanwhile, over the last few months, the importance of SecureDrop around the world as an option for anonymous whistleblowing has become even more apparent. It has given whistleblowers a chance connect safely, securely and directly to a news organization, such as The Washington Post, The Intercept, Gawker, Forbes, The Guardian, or The New Yorker, is unprecedented, and should be a real game changer for journalism.

The public needs to know how THEY can help build a fairer and safer world. 

Although over 19 instances of SecureDrop are currently found in many prominent news organizations throughout the world, the majority of the public still does not know they exist. By getting the word out with this simple and easy-to-understand film, we hope that the next Ed Snowden will choose to use an anonymous whistleblower uploading system like SecureDrop to blow the whistle, without fearing that “doing the right thing” will mean giving up their whole life in the process.

It is up to US to act, to change things

Each dollar raised will help us get the word out to more people in more places, and educate them on the importance of having an anonymous whistleblower uploading system available to the public, as well as the important role that whistleblowers play in shaping and protecting rights and creating a safer environment for future generations. 

All over the world, ordinary people have information that could help build a fairer and safer world. As such, it is important that this film is seen by a widely diverse audience. Included in our distribution strategy will be partnering with like-minded organizations to distribute this film freely online under a Creative Commons License.

Stretch Goals

There are a number of digital rights activists who have been effectively exiled from the US for supporting efforts that Aaron believed in. If we can exceed our funding goal of $20k, we can use additional funds to travel to the other side of the world to interview those people connected with the story. Jacob Appelbaum, Wikileaks Volunteer and a Security and Privacy Expert featured in the Academy Award winning film, “Citizen Four," has agreed to be in the film if I can make it to Berlin, if we achieve our stretch goal of $25K.

More About The Film 

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"From DeadDrop To SecureDrop" trailer

The film tells the story of how SecureDrop began, as a prototype, called "DeadDrop" that was developed by Aaron Swartz and Kevin Poulsen, in late 2012, right before Aaron's death in January, 2013. It explains how Trevor Timm, Executive Director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and Kevin Poulsen, literally sought each other out in the hopes of convincing the other of the same idea: For the Freedom of the Press Foundation to take over development of the project. 

We will hear from everyone involved in the process, including John Perry Barlow, Co-founder of the EFF and Co-founder and Board member of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and Micah Lee, formerly of the EFF, currently Technologist at The Intercept and Co-founder and Board member of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and learn how they collaborated with Trevor Timm, Executive Director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation to take over SecureDrop's development and find a good team to put in charge of implementing it at news organizations.

 DONATION LEVELS & REWARDS

$5 - CONCERNED CITIZEN - Your name listed on our website as a contributor

$10 - SUBSCRIBER - Join our monthly behind the scenes email newsletter, plus your name listed on our website as a contributor

$20 - ADVANCED VIEWER - Receive an advanced DRM-free digital copy of the final movie, join our monthly behind the scenes email newsletter & your name in the movie credits 

$50 - THE IDEALIST - A signed copy of Justin Peters "Idealist", an advanced DRM-free digital copy of the final movie, plus Special Thanks in the credits of the movie

$55 - CHOICE OF T-SHIRT - Choose between either the Internet Archive's classic logo (American Apparel) t-shirt, or the EFF's "Defending Your Rights in the Digital World" t-shirt (choice of slim or regular fit), plus an advanced DRM-free digital copy of the final movie and Special Thanks in the credits of the movie  

$100 - T-SHIRT PACKAGE - You will receive both the Internet Archive's classic logo t-shirt, as well as the EFF's "Defending Your Rights in the Digital World" t-shirt, plus an advanced DRM-free digital copy of the final movie and Special Thanks in the credits of the movie 

$150 - LIMITED EDITION AARON SWARTZ POSTER - A limited edition 18”x24”, black ink serigraph, designed by Ryan Junell and silk-screened by hand by Jon Buonaccorsi, The Headlight Hotel. Plus, an advanced DRM-free digital copy of the final movie and Special Thanks in the credits of the movie 

Details of the poster, which you can see the unique shape of the dots which are digital in nature.
Details of the poster, which you can see the unique shape of the dots which are digital in nature.

$1,000 - ATTEND THE SCREENING - An invitation to the special screening in the SF Bay Area of the film when it is released, where you can listen to very special guest speakers involved in the fight for our digital freedom. (Travel and lodging expenses not included.) Plus, all perks from "THE IDEALIST" giving level (above)  

$5,000 - VIP SCREENING - An invitation to the special screening in the SF Bay Area of the film when it is released, where you can listen to very special guest speakers involved in the fight for our digital freedom. (Travel and lodging expenses not included.) This special catered VIP soiree before the event will be just for you, where you can speak one-on-one with prominent speakers in the fight for our digital freedom. Plus, you will also receive ALL of the perks above. 

 $10,000 - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Receive Executive Producer credit in the film, frequent updates of all of the developments of collecting the details this story, ALL of the perks above, and infinite thanks.

 Strategic planning, management, and expert advice for this Kickstarter was given by:

Risks and challenges

Since this film’s inception, we’ve had an enormous show of support from key players in the fight for press freedom, transparency, and privacy, most of whom have already been filmed for this documentary. But we have just a few more interviews to go and an entire film to edit. Based on what we have accomplished so far with very limited budget, we are confident that we will be finished and ready for distribution by the end of February 2016.

Your support of this project will ensure that we can collect the material necessary, edit the footage, and widely distribute the film so that it will have the most impact and to do justice to this story.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    CONCERNED CITIZEN

    You care about changing the landscape of journalism. We are grateful to you for helping bring this story to a wider audience, and we will list your name on our website as a contributor.

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    SUBSCRIBER

    Be added to our monthly email newsletter with exclusive details about our progress, as well as related news articles about freedom & privacy issues in investigative journalism. And of course, our sincere thanks on our website for helping us make this important film.

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    ADVANCED VIEWER

    By backing us at this level, you will first in line to receive a DRM-free digital copy of the final movie, gratitude for helping us make this film, plus all perks from above giving levels.

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    THE IDEALIST

    A signed copy of Justin Peters "The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet"— it's a smart, lively history of the Internet free culture movement and its larger effects on society—a DRM-free digital copy of the final movie, plus we'll give you Special Thanks in the credits of the movie

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    CHOICE OF T-SHIRT

    Wear your beliefs on your sleeve. Choose between either the Internet Archive logo t-shirt, or the EFF's "Defending Your Rights in the Digital World" t-shirt. (We'll send you a survey after the campaign is over to get which shirt and size you want.) And of course, we'll send you a DRM-free digital copy of the final movie and give you Special Thanks in the credits of the movie.

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    T-SHIRT PACKAGE

    Can't decide which t-shirt? Of course not—these organizations are crucial to fighting for our digital freedoms. We will send you both the Internet Archive's logo t-shirt, as well as the EFF's "Defending Your Rights in the Digital World" t-shirt. (We'll send you a survey after the campaign is over to get which shirts and sizes you want.) And of course, we'll send you a DRM-free digital copy of the final movie and give you Special Thanks in the credits of the movie.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    LIMITED EDITION AARON SWARTZ POSTER

    We have a very limited number of posters of Aaron Swartz that were silk-screened by hand on archival paper. We will also send you a DRM-free digital copy of the final movie and give you Special Thanks in the credits of the movie.

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    ATTEND THE SCREENING

    Thank you for your generous contribution and for recognizing that it is essential to bring this story to a wider audience. As such, we want to invite you a special screening in the Bay Area of the film when it is released, where you can listen to very special speakers in the fight for our digital freedom. (Travel and lodging expenses not included.) We will also give you all perks from "THE IDEALIST" giving level.

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    VIP SCREENING

    You are obviously passionate about educating the average citizen on what they can do next time they encounter corruption. You are amazing. We would be honored to request your presence for a very special VIP pre-party and screening of the film in the Bay Area. (Travel and lodging expenses not included.) This special catered VIP soiree before the event will be just for you, where you can speak one-on-one with prominent speakers in the fight for our digital freedom. Of course, you will also receive all of the perks above.

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    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

    Wow, thank YOU. It's people like you who are helping change the landscape of journalism. To express our gratitude for your exceptional dedication to this important film, we will give you Executive Producer credit in the film, keep you abreast of all of the developments of collecting the details this story, all of the perks above, and infinite thanks.

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Funding period

- (28 days)