Scrubber: An open source compilation to protect journalistic sources

Scrubber: An open source compilation to protect journalistic sources – Ethan Gregory Dodge


We’ve all heard the unfortunate events that lead the imprisonment of whistleblower Reality Winner. The protection of sources has been a challenge for journalists since the birth of the trade, but it’s become even more difficult in the age of document leaks. With fingerprints, watermarks, exif data, etc, there seems to be an infinite number of ways that a document could be linked back to the source and seemingly equal is the number of ways to “scrub” them. To help others navigate these waters, the Truth & Transparency Foundation (TTF), the non profit newsroom behind MormonLeaks and FaithLeaks, has developed Scrubber, a script written over the years of the TTF’s existence that automates the “scrubbing” of sensitive documents to be released to the public. Building on top of dozens of other open source projects, Scrubber can be run on any platform and will help any journalist or activist implement consistency in the cleaning of their files. While there is no silver bullet, Scrubber lays a great foundation.


Ethan Gregory Dodge started his career as a cyber-security engineer in Silicon Valley. His understanding of security naturally flowered into a deep passion for privacy and he slowly found himself following journalists uncovering the state of surveillance in the United States. In early 2016, he experienced a drastic change of world view when he abandoned the orthodox Mormon belief system he was raised with. Despite having left the religion, Ethan has found the culture of Mormonism to be important to his identity. He continues studying the religious movement’s history and progression as a secular Mormon. In late 2016, he was a founding member of the team where his loves of transparency and Mormonism intersected. A year later, he co-founded the Truth & Transparency Foundation, a non-profit newsroom dedicated to empowering the disenfranchised by promoting transparency within religious institutions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from Utah Valley University and enjoys learning and writing about where his interests of technology, security, privacy, and religion intersect.