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Work at ICIJ: Now hiring a Network and Security Engineer

ICIJ is looking for an engineer to join its Data & Research Unit to work on a project to build a secure peer-to-peer data-sharing application.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning ICIJ is looking for a network and security engineer to join its Data & Research Unit, a multidisciplinary team of programmers and data reporters that uses technological innovation to drive cross-border investigations.

Working with ICIJ’s team, based in Washington, D.C. (United States) or Paris (France), the selected candidate will work on our principal research and development project to build a peer-to-peer application that will accelerate collaboration between ICIJ member journalists. This project, known as DataShare, is being developed with the support of The Brown Institute for Media Innovation and FRONTLINE. This position will also advise ICIJ on security issues connected to the organization’s work and its reporting projects.

ICIJ is a global network of more than 200 of the world’s best reporters in nearly 70 countries who collaborate on large-scale investigations on issues that do not stop at national frontiers: cross-border crime, corruption, and the accountability of power. Recent projects include the Panama Papers, the Evicted and Abandoned investigation into the impact of World Bank projects, Swiss Leaks, Luxembourg Leaks and more. ICIJ’s most recent exposé, the Panama Papers, received close to 20 awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, and led to at least 150 investigations in 79 countries.

This is a 12-month contract position. While this person will work with ICIJ on the DataShare project, the position will be paid for by The Brown Institute. The expected starting date is September 2017.

Your responsibilities and opportunities:

You will be in charge of designing, implementing, documenting, testing and deploying the prototype of a unique, dedicated and secure peer-to-peer network allowing journalists across the globe to share their data and collaborate more effectively. The project, called DataShare, has been in development over the past year and is led by Julien Martin, a programmer with a doctorate in computer science and more than 15 years of experience developing artificial intelligence-based software.

DataShare allows for valuable knowledge about people and companies locked within hundreds of pages of documents inside journalists’ computers to be sieved into local indexes and shared securely within a network of trusted individuals, fostering collaboration and prompting new and better investigations that uncover corruption, transnational crime and abuse of power.

The planned workflow is as follows: the users, members of the ICIJ network, will be able to decide whether to share lists of entities held in their computer with a network of trusted individuals — without sending the data to third-parties for analysis, as other services do, or storing it in a centralized index. The prototype will then search the network of peers for matches and will alert the journalist when a connection is found with another reporter’s document. After being put in contact with the requester, the owner will be able to issue (and revoke) a specific certificate to grant download authorization to the requester.

Your work will have direct impact on ICIJ reporting projects. You will be working in a team with three other engineers: the project lead and another programmer, both developing the core processing module, and a UX designer and web developer in charge of front-end development. DataShare’s core processing module has been developed in Java.

You can count on testers from the ICIJ community for deploying early alphas and getting feedback. Thanks to the Brown Institute’s support, the project will also receive advice from the academic community, including leading experts from Columbia University and other universities. The project has several scheduled trips to New York for brainstorming meetings and hackathons.

You will deploy and test the prototype on testers’ machines, which could be work or personal laptops or workstations (up to 5 years old) running any major operating system (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux) and connected on arbitrary networks (from corporate LAN to personal home network), typically within firewall and network address translation (NAT) contexts.

You will design a robust solution for humans, taking into account user experience and best practices.

While your main responsibility will be DataShare, you will also spend a small part of your time reviewing and improving ICIJ’s workflows and their security. You will be in direct contact with journalists in the newsroom and within the network to understand their needs and propose standard practices to follow. This will also be key to inform your work on the prototype.

Your skills and experience:


  • Strong knowledge and experience in network and software security design, implementation and deployment
  • Strong coding and development skills in Java or Scala
  • Good writing and communication skills in English 
  • Team player


  • Experience in programs and contracts of similar scope, type, and complexity
  • Experience in decentralized systems and P2P networks (eg. Kademlia, Tor, etc.)
  • Good knowledge of cryptography, communication encryption methods and tools
  • Good knowledge and experience in certificate-based systems / PKI 
  • Constructivist approach disciple: consider the big picture, start small, experiment, test or deploy frequently, iterate
  • Experience with design thinking

ICIJ is committed to hiring employees from diverse backgrounds. People of color, women, LGBTQ, and differently-abled people are strongly encouraged to apply. To be based with our team in Washington, D.C., candidates must be U.S. citizens or already have a valid work visa to work in the United States. To be based with our team in Paris, candidates must be citizens of a European Union member state or have a valid work visa to work in the EU.

Are you interested in applying? Please send your resume, references to your code and a cover letter explaining why you think you’re the right candidate for this position to Mar Cabra, editor of the ICIJ Data & Research Unit: Feel free to email too if you have any questions. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and the position will be closed once the right candidate is found.

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