a Qt-based GUI for SecureDrop journalists 📰🗞️
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Qt-based client for working with SecureDrop submissions on the SecureDrop Qubes Workstation. In Qubes, this application runs within a VM that has no direct network access, and files open in individual, non-networked, disposable VMs. API requests and responses to and from the SecureDrop application server are sent through an intermediate VM using the Qubes SecureDrop proxy. For additional background, see the main SecureDrop Workstation repository, and read about the user research and design work that informs this work.

IMPORTANT: This project is in alpha and should not be used in production environments. There are known bugs which can be found in this project’s issue tracker.

Current limitations

This client is under active development and currently supports a minimal feature set. Major supported features include:

  • the download and decryption of files, messages, and replies (using Qubes split-gpg)
  • the display of decrypted messages and replies in a new conversation view
  • the opening of all files in individual, non-networked, Qubes disposable VMs

Features to be added include:

Getting Started

Set up a Python 3 virtual environment and set up dependencies:

pipenv install --dev
pipenv shell

Please install system libraries for PyQt rather than using PyPI-managed libraries- this makes packaging possible later. On Debian, apt install python3-pyqt5 python3-pyqt5.qtsvg will install what you need.

In order to run the test suite you should also install the xvfb package (to make the xvfb-run command available): apt install xvfb.


# install Homebrew https://brew.sh/

brew install pyenv
# follow step 3 onwards of https://github.com/pyenv/pyenv#basic-github-checkout
pyenv install 3.5.0

brew install pip
pip install pipenv
pipenv install --dev
pipenv shell

Run the client

You can then run the client with an ephemeral data directory:


If you want to persist data across restarts, you will need to run the client with:

./run.sh --sdc-home /path/to/my/dir/


To use pdb, add these lines:

from PyQt5.QtCore import pyqtRemoveInputHook; pyqtRemoveInputHook()
import pdb; pdb.set_trace()

Then you can use pdb commands as normal.

Running against a test server

In order to login, or take other actions involving network access, you will need to use the SecureDrop server dev container.

Follow the instructions in the SecureDrop documentation to set that up.

The client uses the SecureDrop SDK to interact with the SecureDrop Journalist API. After you run the server container, the journalist interface API will be running on with a test journalist, admin, and test sources and replies.

To ensure that file decryption works, please import this test private key into your GnuPG keyring. Submissions in the SecureDrop server dev environment can be decrypted with this test key.

Run linter

make lint

Run tests

make test

Generate and run database migrations

alembic revision --autogenerate -m "describe your revision here"
alembic upgrade head