If you observe illegal, corrupt, or biased activity in your organization; it may be necessary to report the activity outside of official channels due to cover-up potential or dismissal. Threats, doxxing, defamation, lawsuits, and death could be a potential repercussions of going public. For this reason, it’s vital certain precautions and procedures are followed to ensure a safe and hopefully untraceable reporting of illicit government and corporate actions.
Who to Report To
First, decide to whom you should report the wrongdoing. Get an attorney and they will determine the best course of action. There are a number of reporting routes to take. It is dependent upon the organization type and implications of the wrongdoing.
For securities/commodity laws violations and Medicare/Medicaid fraud, the False Claims Act and Dodd-Frank Act offer protections of anonymity for whistleblowers when a report is made with the SEC or the CFTC. These are common whistleblowing cases where reporting to the government is a clear choice.
In other cases, the government may not be the best party to which to report the wrongdoing. Again, consult with your attorney, but the press is typically the alternative reporting party to the government. Especially when the government or political involvement is at play.
When reporting to the government, the process is straightforward. Get an attorney, they contact the proper agency, who provide witness testimony and/or evidence. Your anonymity is protected by law.
When reporting to the press, everything becomes complex. For the remainder of this Briefing, we’ll discuss considerations for properly reporting to the media while maintaining anonymity.
Anonymously Whistleblowing to the Press
Research a Media Outlet
Consider bias and possible allegiances. Mainstream media such as Reuters, AP, Fox News, or CNN may be appropriate, but in some cases, Newsmaxx, The Daily Wire, Project Veritas, or The Intercept may be appropriate. Use caution not to search for or download anything related to whistleblowing activity yet.
Contact the Media Outlet
Don’t do so from your work computer or office phone. Most corporate and government networks log traffic. Instead, leave your phone at home, get your personal laptop, travel to a public location with free Wi-Fi, and download and use a Tor Browser or VPN. Access the media outlet’s contact information (in many cases they have a dedicated page for whistleblowers to walk you through their reporting process). Contact can be made by the physical drop (mailed/stashed package), email (ProtonMail/TutaNote), or messaging apps (Signal/Telegram.)
Compartmentalize Whistleblowing Activity
Compartmentalize and separate whistleblowing activity from work or personal activities. This includes 1. timing, 2. location, and 3. digital medium. Obviously, the collection of evidence and observations typically must occur at work. The distribution and analysis of such evidence should take place elsewhere on your own time. Don’t use preexisting email or social media accounts. Create new accounts. Use different devices for whistleblower activity, don’t have personal logins on a browser that was used to login to whistleblower accounts. Delete everything after it has been given over to the reported party.
Privatize and Sanitize
Avoid leaving traces related to whistleblowing activity. Lock your phone and devices with a lock key (not fingerprint/face). Use an incognito browser tab/feature or a privacy browser (Brave/DuckDuckGo) at a minimum. Use VPN, Tor, or a new device you plan to physically destroy afterward. Additionally, you can use a separate operating system (such as Tails) altogether. This will protect your anonymity in the event your device is hacked or later seized. Tails is a separate operating system that can be installed on and run on USB jumpdrive.
No communication method is completely secure. There are risks to being a whistleblower. Most doxxing, unmasking, criminal charges, or lawsuits are brought after a whistleblower’s identity is revealed by government investigations into personal texts (SMS) and emails, web search histories, metadata of text messages and phone calls, extracted device data including that from message apps, photos, and files. Keep those safe and maybe you’ll keep your ID secure.
This article was originally written by the Grayman Briefing. Stay in the know, sign up for Intel and Situational Awareness alerts pushed to your phone on emerging threats and preparedness warnings. Click HERE to subscribe to the Grayman Briefing.
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