Whistleblowers

We would like to invite anyone with access to private records about the BIDs and their friends, CIM Group, other property owners, former or current employees of BIDs or of their security providers, who wants to do so to send us copies of stuff you think we might be able to use but that we can’t get via the Public Records Act. If the thought of sending stuff to us makes you anxious, consider that we’ve had three significant whistleblowing events. In each case we managed to do a complete parallel construction of the information provided, and you will be able to detect no trace of our whistleblowers here, but we are exceedingly grateful to them!

Note that both the HPOA and the CHC have explicit whistleblower policies protecting you. Please take advantage of them!

Of course, you should stay anonymous, which is hard to do on the internet. We have a few suggestions, and we promise that we won’t purposely make any information about you public, but we’re not experts either. These are only suggestions:

  1. You can upload straight to our dropbox using this link. It asks for a name and address, but it works just fine if you make up random nonsense. We encourage you to do this. You do not need a Dropbox account to use this link. We don’t know how to identify people using this link, but we suppose that at least law enforcement does, so please don’t use it for anything illegal. You can make it extra-secure by accessing the link using the Tor Browser Bundle. If this doesn’t feel secure enough to you, read on.
  2. Get a throwaway email address from somewhere and use it only to communicate with us, never from your workplace. Note that some internet service providers, e.g. AOL, Earthlink, etc., provide throwaway email addresses as part of their service. It’s better not to use these, since it’s usually easy to discover at least which ISP they’re associated with. Gmail is your friend here.
  3. If everything after this step makes your head spin, just don’t worry about it. You can send us goodies by regular email and we will do our very best not to reveal your secrets. If that prospect makes you too anxious, read on for more tradecraft pointers.
  4. Install the Tor Browser Bundle on a personal computer and use it for all communications.
  5. Install and learn to use some kind of OpenPGP based encryption software. We use and cherish GnuPG but understand that it might be a little much for many people. Our public encryption key is here: kohlhaas.public.PGP.key.asc. Send us your public key first thing, either by email or via Dropbox (no account needed).
  6. Send us goodies by anonymous encrypted email! You’ll feel better about yourself than you probably have in years!

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A collaborative denunciation of Business Improvement Districts in Los Angeles