Home > Fraud Investigations, Governance, Legal Issues, Media, Technology and Tools > Does Wikileaks Support Corporate Whistleblowers?

Does Wikileaks Support Corporate Whistleblowers?

Peter Buxtun, a PHS venereal disease investiga...
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For those who did not read my previous post about Wikileaks.org, here is an explanation of what Wikileaks does, copied from their website:

“Wikileaks is an uncensorable version of Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. It combines the protection and anonymity of cutting-edge cryptographic technologies with the transparency and simplicity of a wiki interface.

Wikileaks looks like Wikipedia. Anybody can post comments to it. No technical knowledge is required. Whistleblowers can submit documents anonymously and untraceably. Users can publicly discuss documents and analyze their credibility and veracity. Users can discuss the latest material, read and write explanatory articles on leaks along with background material and context. The political relevance of documents and their veracity can be revealed by a cast of thousands.

Wikileaks incorporates advanced cryptographic technologies to ensure anonymity and untraceability. Those who provide leaked information may face severe risks, whether of political repercussions, legal sanctions or physical violence. Accordingly, sophisticated cryptographic and postal techniques are used to minimize the risks that anonymous sources face.”

Now that you know what they do, the excerpt below copied from the Wikileaks  “About” page at http://www.wikileaks.org provides information on Wikileaks views regarding Corporate Whistle blowers.    I believe that the work these folks are doing will likely have a far reaching impact on our professions, corporate ethics, fraud investigations and governance in general.   Read and reach your own conclusions:

“Does Wikileaks support corporate whistleblowers?

It is increasingly obvious that corporate fraud must be effectively addressed. In the US, employees account for most revelations of fraud, followed by industry regulators, media, auditors and, finally, the SEC. Whistleblowers account for around half of all exposures of fraud.

Corporate corruption comes in many forms. The number of employees and turnover of some corporations exceeds the population and GDP of some nation states. When comparing countries, after observations of population size and GDP, it is usual to compare the system of government, the major power groupings and the civic freedoms available to their populations. Such comparisons can also be illuminating in the case of corporations.

Considering the largest corporations as analogous to a nation state reveals the following properties:

1. The right to vote does not exist except for share holders (analogous to land owners) and even there voting power is in proportion to ownership.
2. All power issues from a central committee.
3. There is no balancing division of power. There is no fourth estate. There are no juries and innocence is not presumed.
4. Failure to submit to any order may result in instant exile.
5. There is no freedom of speech.
6. There is no right of association. Even romance between men and women is often forbidden without approval.
7. The economy is centrally planned.
8. There is pervasive surveillance of movement and electronic communication.
9. The society is heavily regulated, to the degree many employees are told when, where and how many times a day they can go to the toilet.
10. There is little transparency and something like the Freedom of Information Act is unimaginable.
11. Internal opposition groups, such as unions, are blackbanned, surveilled and/or marginalized whenever and wherever possible.

While having a GDP and population comparable to Belgium, Denmark or New Zealand, many of these multi-national corporations have nothing like their quality of civic freedoms and protections. This is even more striking when the regional civic laws the company operates under are weak (such as in West Papua, many African states or even South Korea); there, the character of these corporate tyrannies is unobscured by their civilizing surroundings.

Through governmental corruption, political influence, or manipulation of the judicial system, abusive corporations are able to gain control over the defining element of government — the sole right to deploy coersive force.

Wikileaks endeavors to civilize corporations by exposing uncivil plans and behavior. Just like a country, a corrupt or unethical corporation is a menace to all inside and outside it.”

I’ve heard calls for reforms in the board room, but what these folks are talking about goes a little beyond that!

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  1. October 18, 2009 at 1:42 AM | #1

    I think the Wikileaks.org service will eventually catch on in the corporate world.

    The main reason why something like Wikileaks is needed is because in many corrupt companies, ethics is something like a cheap soap opera. The public version is choreographed and seriously presented, always taking its inspiration from the 10 Commandments and the latest government regulations. Serious efforts are made to promote the “zero tolerance and clear ethical” rules of the company. However, there is always a double standard regarding whom these rules are for. There is always a group at the top, the “in-group,” for whom the public rules are “flexible.” Then, there is the “out-group” and low level employees, for whom the simplest of breaches, or suspicion of impropriety, gets them fired, and often humiliated in order to show how “ethical” the company is.

    The bad part in all of this is that in most of these companies, people see and are aware of specific serious breaches by the “in-group” and do not dare say anything. Part of the corporate culture in these places is the understanding that the price paid for having a job, is to accept the double standard and keep your mouth shut.

    Why not report wrongdoing to the company’s whistleblower programs some would ask? The reason is simple. Regardless of who is running the compliance department, they are often part of the “in-group” or are deeply indebted to them. The VP or Director of compliance is also a gatekeeper whose responsibility is to keep out troublemakers and protect the company before all else. Whistleblowers are often presumed guilty and accused of being traitors, and put through serious hardships for trying to bring attention to wrongdoing. Most employees who blow the whistle are fired or have to resign soon after the incident.

    Anyone who is observant can easily figure this out. And, anyone who is not wealthy and needs to pay bills has to accept the double standard.

    As soon as some major stories about corporate Wikileakers hit the news and the current fear of retribution is removed, I think the floodgates will open for this service.

    Anonymous

  2. Over THERE
    October 19, 2009 at 1:43 PM | #2

    **** CORRECTION FROM READER ****

    “1. The right to vote does not exist except for share holders (analogous to land owners) and even there voting power is in proportion to ownership.”

    Fixed:

    1. The right to vote does not exist except for share holders (analogous to land owners) and even THEIR voting power is in proportion to ownership.

  3. October 19, 2009 at 2:01 PM | #3

    Thank you. I will assume you are from the Wikileaks.org

    I just visited the Wikileaks.org website and the correction does not show up yet.

    All readers should be advised of this correction, and know that I will try to change it here as soon as the original is updated.

    Joel

  4. October 22, 2009 at 3:43 PM | #4

    Hello from Russia!

    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

    • October 28, 2009 at 9:44 AM | #5

      Dear Russian visitor,

      No problem. You can link the post on your blog as you wish.

      If you can, send me a link to your post so I can see it.

      Joel

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