Whistleblowing has long been a basis of accountability and openness both in the public and private sectors. It’s an essential tool that enables people to reveal wrongdoing, corruption, and unethical behavior. In recent years we’ve seen a rapid evolution of the whistleblowing landscape as a result of new technological advancements and shifting cultural views on accountability and transparency.
We’ll try and take a look into the future of whistleblowing - every aspect of modern workflow and work methods will be affected by technological developments. Here we e.g. look at AI, blockchains and secure communication.
What is whistleblowing?
Before we can look into the future, we must first understand the present state of whistleblowing. Whistleblowers have historically faced significant risks, such as retaliation, losing their jobs, or even legal action, which has discouraged many potential whistleblowers from coming forward. This environment made it difficult to expose wrongdoing and corruption.
However, the whistleblowing landscape is continuously changing. Governments and organizations all across the world have recognized the value of whistleblower protection and have enacted laws and rules to protect people who expose wrongdoing. Furthermore, the introduction of secure communication methods and the digital era have made it more straightforward for whistleblowers to share their information anonymously and securely.
New technologies shapes whistleblowing
Below we’ll take a closer look at blockchain technology and AI, and how they change they way employees can whistleblow and stay safe and protected.
Blockchain, which is the technology underlying cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, is gaining popularity in whistleblowing due to its key features like transparency, immutability, and security.
The blockchain database is impenetrable. Once information is stored on the blockchain, it cannot be changed or deleted unless all parties agree to do so. This makes it an ideal platform for preserving critical evidence connected to misconduct or corruption while ensuring its integrity.
Some blockchain-based platforms allow whistleblowers to make reports without revealing their names. The anonymity is thus protecting them from retaliation.
Smart contracts can automate whistleblower processes, ensuring that reports are treated quickly and fairly. They can also facilitate whistleblower incentive programs, encouraging even more people to come forward with any knowledge of misconduct or wrongdoings.
AI-powered natural language processing (NLP) systems can analyze and categorize the massive amounts of textual data generated by whistleblower reports. This enables organizations to quickly find significant data and take appropriate action accordingly.
By examining past data, AI is able to predict potential areas of misconduct or corruption. This proactive strategy can assist businesses in addressing issues early on before they become severe.
Artificial intelligence can improve whistleblower anonymity by automatically censoring identifying information from given reports, thus protecting whistleblowers even more.
Tech developments help whistleblowers
Now whistleblowers can disclose misconduct without fear of being exposed thanks to technological developments in confidential communication methods. These solutions provide end-to-end encryption, making it nearly impossible for other parties to intercept or decipher information. Some even include self-destructing messages in order to make sure that the sensitive information is kept private.
Let's look at some real-world examples to get a better sense of how these evolving trends and technology are affecting the future of whistleblowing:
Several blockchain-based services have emerged to provide safe and anonymous channels for whistleblowers. Whistleblow.io is one such platform that uses blockchain technology to assure the accuracy and security of submitted data. Whistleblow.io uses smart contracts to streamline the report processing and the website provides cryptocurrency rewards to whistleblowers.
Many organizations are looking to artificial intelligence to improve their whistleblower hotlines. AI-powered chatbots can help whistleblowers provide relevant information and navigate through the reporting procedure which some find intimidating. These chatbots are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can handle a large volume of reports, ensuring that no case goes unresolved.
Apps like Signal and Wickr offer secure texting services that continue to grow more and more popular among whistleblowers. These apps include end-to-end encryption, self-destructing messages, and a minimum amount of data storage to ensure your conversations remain private.
Challenges and Concerns
While these new trends and technologies carry huge potential for the future of whistleblowing, they're also the reason for several questions and concerns:
Data Privacy: It's important to protect whistleblowers' privacy. As technologies like AI and blockchain collect and store massive amounts of data, it will be crucial to ensure that the data they store remain secure and anonymous.
Misuse of Technology: There is a risk that these technologies could be used to help scammers and malevolent employees to do false reporting or harassment. It is critical to strike a balance between anonymity and accountability, to avoid any fake reports - which in the worst case can cost someone their job.
Access: Not everyone has access to the latest technology or the internet. Maintaining access to whistleblowing methods for everybody, regardless of technology resources, remains a matter of concern, which every organization should remember to consider.
Legal and Ethical Concerns: The legal and ethical consequences of using blockchain-based evidence in court should be carefully examined. Certain legal actions may be complicated by blockchain's sturdiness.
The future of whistleblowing continues to be shaped by the emergence of new technology such as blockchain, AI, and encrypted communication platforms. These advances make it easier for people to expose misconduct while also reducing the risks that can be involved with whistleblowing. As a result, we are likely to see better transparency and accountability in both the public and private sectors.
However, it is critical to approach these new developments with caution and consider the ethics that are connected to implementing the new technology in such a sensitive matter. To fully realize the potential of these developing technologies in the realm of whistleblowing, it is important to strike the correct balance between privacy, security, and responsibility. As society changes, so will the procedures people can use to report misconduct , fostering a more just and ethical environment.
Caroline is a copywriter here at Moxso beside her education. She is doing her Master's in English and specializes in translation and the psychology of language. Both fields deal with communication between people and how to create a common understanding - these elements are incorporated into the copywriting work she does here at Moxso.View all posts by Caroline Preisler