The New York Times is considering creating an electronic drop-box for whistleblowers who want to send large files to the paper.
The Times executive editor Bill Keller told Yahoo! News blog The Cutline that the new system might be patterned after Al Jazeera's Transparency Unit, which allows users to submit files through an encrypted system that does not record any of their personal information.
He added that a small group from the Times computer-assisted reporting and interactive news, with advice from the investigative unit and the legal department, "has been discussing options for creating a kind of EZ Pass lane for leakers."
Raffi Khatchadourian of The New Yorker recently wrote an article in which he asked whether Al Jazeera had "taken the first step in a journalism arms race to begin acquiring mass document leaks."
"It would be surprising if other large news organizations are not already at work on their own encrypted WikiLeaks-style portals," Khatchadourian wrote. "The New York Times and the Guardian, for instance, have every incentive to follow in Al Jazeera's footsteps and give people a way to submit sensitive material directly to them rather than through an intermediary, such as WikiLeaks."
In 2010, the Times and the Guardian received hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents from Wikileaks. These documents were allegedly supplied by Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, who remains in solitary confinement.
Al Jazeera has recently published leaked documents it has obtained from a decade of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The network, The Cutline reported, promises that "all submitted content is subjected to a rigorous vetting and authentication process that encompasses respect for individual privacy."