The tools helping facilitate leaks from Trump’s White House

As far as leaks out of new U.S. President Donald Trump's administration go, the saying "when it rains, it pours," might be appropriate.

Last week alone, potentially embarrassing details concerning telephone calls with the Australian Prime Minister and Mexican President, as well as allegations that Trump's Supreme Court nomination process was being stage managed, saw the cold light of day.

Since the tempestuous U.S. election cycle last year, demand for SecureDrop, one of the primary encryption platforms employed by news outlets to securely facilitate leaks has "absolutely exploded," according to Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation which is behind the tool.

"It's hard to name a news organization that has not gotten in touch with us about installing SecureDrop in the past six weeks," Timm told CNBC via e-mail.

The platform, used by the New York Times and the Washington Post among others, is currently subject of the Guardian's pinned tweet and has been adopted by national broadcasters in Canada and Norway.

SecureDrop's growing popularity is representative of a sea change in the media industry, with leak-based and investigative journalism being foregrounded.

Timm described how "the Trump administration has been leaking at a record pace" and "media organizations are much more willing to actually call lies 'lies.'"

By way of explaining the spike in interest in SecureDrop, Timm outlined his view that there was a "general fear that Trump could turn the U.S.' surveillance on the press," alongside unrest bubbling away inside the government itself.

According to Timm, SecureDrop faces little other competition in the U.S. The tool is open source, though he detailed that the Freedom of the Press Foundation did "sign large news organizations who can afford it up to support contracts."

Another encryption platform that has seen its popularity jump is Signal, a messaging app which facilitates communication shielded by end-to-end encryption. BuzzFeed and other media outlets reported in early December that daily downloads of the app had increased 400 percent since the U.S. election.

Moxie Marlinspike, founder of Open Whisper Systems which is behind the platform, told CNBC via e-mail that: "The U.S. surveillance infrastructure expanded greatly under Obama, and there are many people who feel uncomfortable or at risk with Trump inheriting control over the largest, most invasive, least accountable surveillance apparatus in history."

Marlinspike did point out that the Trump transition team also used Signal. Like SecureDrop, the software is open source and Marlinspike hoped that such practice would "ideally … just become the new normal." Google, Facebook and its subsidiary Whatsapp also moved to adopt end-to-end encryption last year.

But for Tom Felle, a lecturer in digital journalism at City University in London, the pick up in encryption software is nothing new, and is instead a "trend that has been building in the last eight to nine years" as journalists need to "protect sources and whistleblowers in the digital era."

Commenting on the rocky relationship between the media and the new Trump administration, Felle did add that there was a "worry in newsrooms as to how to cover fake news." He said that while there were "no grave investigations into Trump as yet," the proliferation of leaks coming out of the new government was "an early example of what will be an interesting four years."

Nonetheless, the media's mass employment of encryption software may well contribute to this.

Timm asserted that, "I don't think it's impossible that a combination of leaks, and whistle blowers and investigative journalism eventually lead to the downfall of Trump."

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