Liquid Investigations: Helping journalists collaborate safely at scale


Stefan Candea wanted to create journalism that exposes wrongs in society: “I could see very fast how stories hit a wall and not be published”

With increased global connectivity, it also became easier for corruption and criminal elements to undermine investigations by simply moving operations across borders, particularly in Europe. This meant that journalists struggled to connect the dots and break the stories that mattered.

“We needed to collaborate with others outside the country, journalists that were independent of the owners of infrastructure,” says Stefan. “But we lacked the tools to do it.”

Journalists needed a new system to make it easier for them to work together, one which would enable them to search, analyse, annotate and share information in secure, integrated environments.

With Liquid Investigations, Stefan created tools that journalists working across the world can use to collaborate securely and effectively. Liquid is a free, open-source software that’s useable on cheap hardware and puts together secure apps, search tools, chat systems and a synchronisation file system.

With help from the Google DNI Fund, the software was developed to run across a range of servers with a special focus on small and portable devices.

“We compressed the software so that it fits on a micro computer,” explains Andrea Bonea, a member of the Liquid team. “It’s perfect for groups that want to collaborate in a safe, secure manner.”

The kit allows for distributed, non-hierarchical data analysis, as well as sharing, information exchange and annotation. It gives network members distributed and granular control over data management.

“Journalists can pick up the bundle and have the necessary technology to start a network. The DNI Fund made it possible to develop all of that into a small mini computer, and make this bundle available outside of a centralised environment.”

If I look at the future I see a huge value in democratising collaboration to put control in the hands of the journalist and not the owners of infrastructure

Stefan Candea
Founder at Liquid Investigations

Liquid is the complete bridge between journalists. It puts everybody at an equal level.

Stefan Candea
Founder at Liquid Investigations

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