The App

Why security mattersUse casesWhat Dispatch does & doesn’t doApp walkthrough


Why Security Matters

Security is universally accepted as a top priority for reporters and activists working in unstable regions. But it’s also critical for domestic journalists. Cyber attacks have been launched against The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Hackers have targeted Facebook and Apple, both of which provide solutions used by citizen journalists. Google is legally required to surrender user information to government requests.

Never before has it been more critical for journalists to protect the confidentiality and integrity of their reporting.

Security is necessary:

  • To protect the anonymity of your sources
  • To ensure that your reporting remains confidential
  • To prevent others from impersonating you in communications

Use Cases For Dispatch

Security can be intuitive. Dispatch is designed with journalists in mind.

You’re covering a government protest with a team of reporters. You receive a message via Dispatch from a source, telling you where the latest action is. You then use Dispatch to send a group message to your entire team, letting them know where you’re headed. Once you’re on the scene, Dispatch publishes photos and text instantly to the website of your choice. The best part? Every message is encrypted and authenticated so that it is only read by the people you want to read it. If you want to publish anonymously, with Dispatch your identity is secure.

Dispatch is especially well-suited for protecting the identities of sensitive sources and reporting in unstable conditions.

What Dispatch Does & Doesn’t Do

Dispatch makes every effort to protect your identity. But Dispatch is only a tool to help minimize security risks to journalists. To protect yourself, always use security best practices and understand that there are some things Dispatch cannot do.

Dispatch Does:

  • Provide secure communications that are as easy to use as text messaging or email
  • Use established end-to-end encryption to ensure your messages remain secure
  • Use key-based authentication to verify the source of each message
  • Protect your anonymity by never linking your Dispatch account to your real identity
  • Enable you to publish even if internet is blocked or unavailable, using our “sneaker-net” feature

Dispatch Does Not:

  • Have access to your messages – every piece of communication is encrypted, even while on our servers.
  • Store your communications after transmitting or publishing them.
  • Protect your identity if you publicly reveal your Dispatch identity or link it to your real name.
  • Protect messages once they are received and de-encrypted by the recipient. We can’t protect you if your communication partner accidentally or intentionally decides to share your message.
  • Withhold data from the government when it is requested by court subpoena. Though we minimize the amount of data that we retain and your messages are always encrypted, we are required to comply with valid United States government requests for information.

How to Use Dispatch

Setting up Dispatch is easy:

  1. Download the Dispatch App for Android or iPhone.
  2. Sign up using an anonymous, throw-away email address. Make sure that you choose an email address unrelated to your real identity.
  3. Click the link validating the email address. You will never need to use this email address again.
  4. Add the contacts you want to communicate with and/or link to the website you want to publish to.
  5. That’s it – now you’re ready to report!

Dispatch utilizes “no-touch” publishing. Once you choose a channel, the app will automatically push your photos and messages to that channel until you switch it. Changing channels is as easy as swiping the screen and tapping on a box.

Want more detail? Check out our screen-by-screen walkthroughs for iPhone and Android.

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