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World Online Whistleblowing Survey

University of Melbourne Logo   Griffith University Logo

This survey asks for your views about 'whistleblowing'. Whistleblowing is when someone reveals inside information about serious wrongdoing to people or authorities who may be able to take action.

The survey includes questions about whistleblowing to the media.

The survey is part of a study by researchers from Griffith University and the University of Melbourne. The project is funded by the Australian Research Council and has been approved by the University of Melbourne research ethics committee.

The survey should take between 15 and 20 minutes to complete, depending on your answers. You can submit it even if you haven't finished it.

Please note:

Please feel free to contact us for any reason at researchers@whistleblowingsurvey.org or visit our website at: https://www.whistleblowingsurvey.org/

Thank you for taking part in this important research project.


Survey Start

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1.   'Inside information' is information that someone has because of their role in an organisation - for example, as an employee of a government department or a business, or as a member of an educational, religious or community organisation.

Often inside information is secret or confidential for good reason. However, often it is also about important things going on within the organisation.

Which of the following comes closest to your view?

2.   Sometimes, inside information can be about serious wrongdoing. This is when a person or organisation does things that are unlawful, unjust, dangerous or dishonest enough to harm the interests of individuals, the organisation or wider society.

Which of the following comes closest to your view? (Select one answer)

3.   Which of the following best describes what you think should happen in the society in which you live?

4.   How acceptable do you personally think it is for someone to do each of the following? (Select one answer per row)

Highly acceptableFairly acceptableNeither acceptable or un-acceptableFairly un-acceptableHighly un-acceptable
To reveal inside information about serious wrongdoing committed by people in charge of an organisation
To reveal inside information about serious wrongdoing committed by other staff or workers in an organisation
To reveal inside information about serious wrongdoing committed by a family member or personal friend working in the organisation

5.   Are you currently a member of an organisation? Choose the answer that best describes your present role, if any.

6.   Thinking about your role in the organisation you mentioned above - how much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

Strongly disagreeDisagreeNeither disagree nor agreeAgreeStrongly agree
If I observed wrongdoing, I would feel personally obliged to report it to someone in my organisation
If I reported wrongdoing to someone in my organisation, I am confident something appropriate would be done about it
Management in my organisation is serious about protecting people who report wrongdoing

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Question 7 out of 45.

7.   Imagine you have inside information about serious wrongdoing in an organisation of which you are a member. How important would each of the following things be to your decision about whether to tell someone?

Not at all importantSomewhat importantVery importantExtremely important
If the wrongdoing was extremely serious
If anyone would do something about the wrongdoing
If I would remain fully anonymous — no-one would know my identity
If the people in authority would support me
If I was under a legal responsibility to report it
If only people that I chose would know my identity
If the information would be kept secret from everyone except those to whom I chose to send it

8.   Who, if anyone, would you tell about the serious wrongdoing? Number the boxes, starting with '1' for who you would tell first, following with a '2' for who you would tell next, and so on. Leave the box blank for anyone you would not tell, at any stage.

Number
Anyone who wanted to know, on the internet (for example by broadcasting it on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or an online blog)
Spouse or partner
Other family or friends
A website set up to receive and publish inside information
Work colleagues
People in authority outside the organisation (e.g. police, ombudsman, elected representatives)
A journalist or news organisation
People in charge within the organisation
Other:
I would not tell anyone

9.   In different societies, there are different views on the most effective way to get action to stop serious wrongdoing. What do you think is the most effective way in the society in which you live?

10.   If someone in an organisation has inside information about serious wrongdoing, when do you think they should use a journalist, the media, or the internet to draw attention to it? (Select one answer)

People with inside information about serious wrongdoing should be able to go to the media

11.   If you had inside information about serious wrongdoing, how likely would you be to take it to a journalist or media organisation in each of the following situations?

Definitely take to mediaProbablyMay or may notProbably notDefinitely not take to media
If the wrongdoing threatened to damage people outside, in the community
If the organisation was lying to the public about the wrongdoing
If the wrongdoing began to damage people in the organisation
If publicity seemed like a good way to defend myself
If the media made it easy for me to tell them about the wrongdoing
If other authorities, (e.g. police, ombudsman) failed to stop the wrongdoing
If the organisation failed to stop the wrongdoing
If I began to suffer reprisals for speaking up about the wrongdoing

12.   Are there any other situations that you think would be likely to make you go to the media with inside information about serious wrongdoing?


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Question 13 out of 45.

13.   If you were to report serious wrongdoing to people in charge of an organisation you belonged to, how many people in the organisation would you want to know that it was you who provided the information?

14.   If you were to reveal serious wrongdoing to a journalist or media organisation, how many people would you want to know that it was you who provided the information?

15.   How much direct contact would you want to have with a journalist or media contact to whom you were considering giving inside information? Choose the statement closest to your view.

16.   Some people think it is important to know and trust the journalist or media contact to whom they are considering giving inside information, but others think it doesn't matter. Which of the following best describes your view?

I would:

The next 10 questions ask about different things, if you were to give inside information about serious wrongdoing to the media. If you don't think you would ever give inside information to the media, you are welcome to Skip to Question 27. (You are also welcome to answer these questions if you wish.)

17.   If you were to approach a journalist or media organisation with inside information about serious wrongdoing, how important would each of the following be in your decision about which media organisation to go to?

If the media organisation:Very importantSomewhat importantNot at all important
has an easy way for me to get them the information
reaches a big or influential audience
has a good reputation
has a secure way for me to get them the information
employs particular journalists whom I respect or trust
would keep my identity secret
has previously run related stories

18.   Would anything else be very important in your decision about which media organisation to go to?


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Question 19 out of 45.

19.   If you were thinking of revealing inside information to a journalist about serious wrongdoing, how would you prefer to provide the information to them?

Number the following in order of preference from 1 to 10, with '1' being your first preference and '10' being your last preference. If you don't know, leave all boxes blank.

Number
Postal mail
Phone
Hand delivered or dropped-off mail
Other social media or instant messaging program
Fax
An online 'tip-off' webpage or drop box for messages
Face to face meeting
Twitter
Facebook
Email

20.   If you were communicating with a journalist using these methods, how confident would you be that your identity could not be traced? Choose an answer for each method.

Very confident my identity could not be tracedSomewhat confidentNot confident
Twitter
Facebook
Other social media or instant messaging program
An online 'tip-off' webpage or drop box for messages
Email
Fax
Postal mail
Hand delivered or dropped-off mail
Face to face meeting
Phone

21.   Media organisations sometimes have special systems, promising anonymity or confidentiality to people who provide inside information over the internet. Think about the media organisation you trust the most. How much would you trust each of the following promises, if they were made by that organisation?

A high degree of trustSome trustLittle or no trust
'The content of all information submitted is confidential - only we see it'
'The computer you are using will be totally untraceable, by anyone including us'
'We will know your computer (IP address) but will only pass it onto government or law enforcement if required to'
'We will never know or record your email address'
'We will know your computer (IP address) but will never pass it on to anyone'

22.   Have you ever provided inside information to a journalist or media organisation?

23.   When providing inside information to the media, which of the following methods have you used? Select all that apply.

24.   What do you think would be the best way to provide inside information to journalists and media organisations about serious wrongdoing? Especially include any ways of providing information not included in the lists in the previous questions.

(Please remember NOT to provide any details that could be used to identify you, or anyone else.)

25.   Overall, how important would each of the following be to you, if you provided inside information to a journalist or media organisation about serious wrongdoing?

Very importantQuite importantSomewhat importantNot important
Change — getting the wrongdoing corrected
Security of information — ensuring that only the people I choose can see the information I am providing
Accuracy — making sure the truth is properly told
Hidden Identity — my identity is kept secret from everyone except people whom I agree to have it, such as the journalist
Publicity — getting a prominent run in the media
Anonymity — my identity is kept secret from everyone, even the journalist
Support — whether the journalist still treats me well after the story has run
Convenience — easy ways of communicating with the journalist

26.   Would anything else be very important to you, if you provided inside information to the media?

27.   How would you generally describe people who reveal inside information about serious wrongdoing to the media? Choose the description closest to your view.


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Question 28 out of 45.

The remaining questions are to tell us what cross-section of people has answered the survey. It helps us if you can answer as many as you can.

However, please do not answer any questions that you are at all unsure or uncomfortable about. Most importantly, please do not answer any question if you think it could be used to identify you in any way.

28.   What age group do you belong to?

29.   Are you:

30.   Which of the following best describes the part of the world you live in?

31.   How often do you use social media technologies, such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs or LinkedIn?

32.   If you use social media technologies, do you:

33.   Do you know how to use the following on the internet?

YesNo
Online banking or product ordering
Encryption software for email or documents, such as PGP, GPG
Browser security plugins such as CERT Patrol, No Script
Onion routing such as Tor to avoid traffic analysis
Virtual private networks (VPNs), such as IPSEC, PPTP, SSH port forwarding

34.   Where do you get most of your information about news and current affairs?

Number the following from 1 to 8 in order of their importance as a source of information to you, with '1' being the most important and '8' being the least important.

Number
Television
Professional or work publications
Online newspapers
Other online media
Radio
Family, friends and work colleagues
Print newspapers
Social Media

35.   Have you ever worked in the news or current affairs media - for example as a paid journalist, editor or executive in a media organisation?

36.   In any organisation you've been a member of, have you ever seen or had direct evidence of serious wrongdoing?

If you have never seen or had direct evidence of serious wrongdoing in an organisation, please Skip to question 45.

37.   Thinking about the most serious wrongdoing you observed - whose interests were negatively affected by the wrongdoing?

Highly affectedSomewhat affectedNot affectedDon't know
My own personal interests
Others in the organisation
Clients or customers of the organisation
Members of the general public and wider society

38.   Who, if anyone, did you tell about the serious wrongdoing? Select all that apply.

If you didn't tell anyone, or only told family or friends, please click here to skip to question 45


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Question 39 out of 45.

39.   To your knowledge, was anything done to investigate or respond to the serious wrongdoing you revealed?

40.   What was the overall result?

41.   How widely known was it inside the organisation that you had revealed information about the wrongdoing?

42.   How widely known was it outside the organisation that you had revealed information about the wrongdoing?

43.   After you revealed the wrongdoing, how do you feel you were treated by:

Extremely wellQuite wellThe sameQuite badlyExtremely badly
People in authority in the organisation
Colleagues and co-workers

44.   If you had your time over again, how likely would you be to reveal the wrongdoing to:

Extremely unlikelyQuite unlikelySomewhat likelyVery likelyExtremely likely
People in authority
The media or the public

45.   We welcome your views on what could be done to help ensure that information about serious wrongdoing comes to light and is dealt with, via official channels or via the media. Please give us any further comments that you think might be relevant. (Please remember DO NOT provide any details that could be used to identify you, or anyone else.)


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Survey Submission

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Tips for using computers anonymously

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Regardless of which method you use, we have some Tips for using computers anonymously

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Higher Security Submission

This submission method uses Tor ("The Onion Router") which is a program for protecting your anonymity online. Instead of communicating directly with our web server, Tor routes communications through a chain of four computers (including yours and ours) which only know about their direct neighbours in the chain. Tor is widely regarded as the most effective technology for providing anonymity.

Tor does not conceal the fact that you are using it from people who are able to monitor your internet connection (your internet service provider, your government, or anybody who hacks into your router or modem). Therefore, you might consider our

Tips for using computers anonymously

Steps for higher security submission:

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Deletion instructions

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Mac OS X:

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Windows:

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FreeBSD and Linux:

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Help us by auditing the survey!

The privacy and anonymity of the survey respondents depends partially on you! You can help by auditing the survey's distribution and security infrastructure, by checking for signs of tampering. We have included a list of items to audit... if you can help with any of these, that would be very valuable!

If you find any security problems (either due to a check failing, or you find some other problem), then please contact us using the contact details at the bottom of this page.

Security Contact Details

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