Dear Editor,

Do whistleblowers and hotline tippers reporting behaviors they become aware of directly need anonymity?

Three factors, in my opinion, need to be considered — the power differential between the reporter and the subject of the report, the personal and financial risk to the reporter and the value of these reports in crime-fighting and fraud detection.

The issue of the power differential between the reporter and the subject of the report refers to wealth, social and personal connection and social/professional status. I would argue that the bigger the differential means the bigger the need for anonymity. For example, reporting on our supervisor, boss, or other people with better connections or recognized power can open you up to shaming, isolation and reprisals you can’t handle.

The financial and personal risk to the reporter seems obvious to me. These risks include manipulated job loss and threats of physical and property damage to you and your family by the subject or the subject’s supporters. This leads to feelings of being terrorized.

It seems clear to me without anonymity, whistleblower provisions and police tip lines would be ineffective in combating fraud, abusive behavior and crime.

Reports from these sources as happened in the Ukrainian reports are examined by legal and independent referral departments for credibility (probable cause) before becoming handed over to investigators. These reporters do not charge.


Gilbert Engel