Given the magnitude and nature of issues that are being discussed on praja, it is only inevitable that sometimes there are situations where a member has a privileged information on an issue but would not want to disclose it for the fear of being held responsible for it. Then there are situations where the members have an opinion that is not congruent to their or their employer's official stand. We recognize that in such cases several members still prefer to share the information with other keeping in mind the general good of the public.
We are hence happy to announce a 'whistleblower' feature on the site. Please read further for the details on how this works. It is absolutely essential you understand all the implications of this. This page has been written in a FAQ format for easy understanding.
What can be submitted and what not?
Any information that you think is necessary for the public to know can be posted. This can be an 'off the record' comment, some evidence of an illegal activity, some sensitive documents anything. But be aware not to use this for targeting an individual or showing an organization in unduly bad light. Anything that is being posted will have to have verifiable evidence or other means to verify the authenticity of information being submitted.
How to submit the information?
You can submit the message by going to the Contact page and selecting 'I am a whistleblower'. Then write your message. If you want to send any documents/images, you can mail them to 'acoward at praja dot in'. (Please see below on precautions to take)
How to ensure my privacy?
If you have logged in as an user, the admins will know who sent the message. This helps admins to revert to you for some more feedback. However, this also implies that you trust admins to know who you are. You can use this option to send information of low sensitivity that you would not have any legal trouble with if the message were to be traced to you. This implies we know your e-mail address and other information you provided on this site.
If you have an information that is very sensitive and might pose a legal/physical threat to you if it were traced back to you, you can submit the message as an anonymous user. Log out if you are logged in and use contact page with the choice 'I am a whistleblower'. You can leave your true e-mail address if you want to be reached back by admin. Otherwise, fill in a dummy address. However, your writing might not be posted immediately if you post anonymously. This is to discourage the use of this feature for trivial issues. Expect a week's delay on an average.
If you want to send documents or images, open a new e-mail address with online mail services (Gmail, Yahoo etc) and use that mail id to send the attachments to 'admin at praja dot in'. Word and excel files have user information stored in them so you might want to send PDFs.
For additional security, use a computer at an internet cafe.
How much information is stored about me?
If you had logged in, the admins will know your user id and other information you submitted. If you have chosen to logout and submit information, admins can know your IP address. The site stores the IP address for two weeks (currently). This IP address can be used by law enforcement agencies in coordination with your Internet service provider to trace you. If you do not wish to be traced, use a public computer at an internet cafe. More technically adept users can use anonymous proxy servers.
Who will have access to my information?
Your details as above will be accessible only to the administrators of the site. While we will not reveal your details (IP address etc) to anyone via the website or otherwise, We will have oblige to any legal request by a law enforcement agency to provide any information that we have. In such situations, we will notify you before sharing the details with the law enforcement agencies.
What will happen to the material I send?
Your message with go to the administrators who take a decision on its suitability to be published based on following criteria.
- Relevance to praja's focus areas (urban civic issues)
- Authenticity and verifiability of the information
- Legal and social risks involved by publishing such information.
- Other relevant criteria based on the matter in hand
- The admin's decision will be final.
If the admins deem it necessary, they might also share only the content (and not your details) with few long term trusted members to ensure the suitability of the material for publishing. The material will then be posted as a blog or a comment from acoward.
What action will praja take based on the information I submitted?
NONE. Yes, Praja is a platform for people to find other like minded people. Praja admins (in their capacity as admins) will not involve in any action based on the information you provided. The admins' responsibility ends at posting your message anonymously on the site. It is then upto other members who identify with the particular cause to take it further.
If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments.
Summary: You are responsible for your privacy. Praja admins will only help you remain anonymous. We do not guarantee your anonymity beyond what has explicitly been stated above.