The practice and politics of leaking

Individuals that care about their society and government can often experience what they see as degenerate and illicit behaviour in the work environment. When that happens, these individuals may willingly volunteer to discharge sensitive private data. This is called leaking. It is often done either through an open exposure, where the identity of the informant is openly known, or a closed and secret divulgence where the identity of the leaker isn’t uncovered. Usually the data is leaked to columnists or activists who might be ready to look for change. Leaking is another option other than whistleblowing and it conveys fewer dangers of revenge and punishment, but leakers should still be aware of traps with this practice. So here is some information on the practice and politics of leaking.

A person who sees proof of what they see to be degenerate practices, and if they trust that the issue will not be taken care of, one of the problems is choosing what to do next. If they believe that information should be openly accessible if there is to be successful leadership, leaking is a popular route to take. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • If a leaker chooses to go through media, they should first choose which media outlet is most appropriate for making the story public. In choosing a columnist to write the story, they should approach one who is experienced and has a reputation of keeping their sources secret.
  • The timing of releasing the information is very important.
  • If they want a journalist to believe them, a leaker has to have proof.
  • It is advised to have a clear one-page summary for the journalist with an outline of the key issues of the case.
  • The most serious issue with passing records to the media is that copiers tend to leave a mark on the paper, so it is best to use an offsite copier.

Before leaking, it is also important to know that leaking has its risks – the identity of the leaker might be exposed, which can lead to harassment and vengeful actions.