Information on key aspects of our service and how we ensure confidentiality and anonymity. The structure of this service:
- gives people the confidence to report
- improves the quality of the reporting
- strengthens the business bottom line
WHAT IS CONFIDENTIALITY?
Is a written or unwritten rule that information provided will not be relayed to another person without knowing or agreeing on the process. The obligation to treat as confidential can apply to a piece of information, a document, a disclosure or a person’s identity.
While this may be an obligation, it relies on people honouring and respecting the discloser’s request for confidentiality. This can be embedded through secure, private and anonymous access supplemented by other systems, such as “air gaps”, metadata stripping, separation of IT support from disclosure report, one organisation one communication channel and other strategies that limit tracing (phone calls, email and fax).
WBS ensure confidentiality through the combined set of strategies adopted and explained here. These strategies can only be compromised by your actions, including:
- Talking to people about your disclosure
- Allowing people to access your disclosure using your unique access code
- Gathering information from your network (using work items, PC, Laptop, Phone) that specifically or generally relates to your disclosure
- Making enquiries from your network (using work items, PC, Laptop, Phone) that specifically or generally relates to your disclosure
- Requiring us to communicate with you on a specific disclosure using phone calls, email and fax, whether work assets or your personal assets
WHAT IS PRIVACY?
Privacy applies to the identity of the person making the disclosure. It requires the identity and the information that might disclose the identity of the person making the disclosure, to be kept secret. Our systems and work practices are designed to protect your privacy. As your identity is not mandatory to undertaking and assessment and report, we prefer an online lodgement through the Web Portal for each organisation. This may slow down the exchange of information, but the online elements provide the highest possible privacy.
In some cases people prefer to use an alternative way to disclose. We explain this later on, along with possible approaches and potential issues.
WHAT IS “PRIVATE” BROWSING?
Some web browsers offer “private browsing” or “incognito”. This means that the session information (sites, cookies, searches and form data) is not kept once you close the browser.
If you do not close the browser the data remains available.
Other information remains on your device (laptop, PC mobile), downloads and bookmarks created during the session.
This applies to data on you device, BUT NOT once the data leaves your device. The rest of the network will know what websites you have accessed. The network knows this through the data used by and retained by routers, firewalls and proxy servers.
If you use standard browses such as Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Opera your privacy is part protected.
Most IT and many other people have the skills to access the network infomration and usage to determine who has accessed which websites and when.
If you a thinking that your investigations or issues might be part of a disclosure, then:
- Use your own device (not a work provided device)
- Use the TOR Browser
- Access the information from your home network or from public location (library)
WHAT IS ANONYMITY?
This is where the web browser combines, full privacy protection, encrypted data, secure connection and a prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit. When used together the TOR Browser with the access code (onion) in the URL, you will be taken the website that has issued the onion.
WHAT IS ENCRYPTED?
The information and files are transmitted and stored in an encrypted format, rather than as plain text or native format. Accordingly the data in transit and in storage is not visible or able to be unencrypted without the administrative privileges or the person disclosing using their unique number.
WHERE CAN MY DATA BE SEEN AND READ?
Data and information (visited websites) where it can be potentially compromised:
Your Device: Phone, tablet, desktop, laptop, etc…
The Intranet (internal networks): This is the point from your device to the connection to the internet. This includes routers and firewalls that record websites accessed by your device. In the workplace theses are controlled and monitored by IT group and reported on to management.
The Internet (external networks): Your internet service provider (ISP) have their own hardware and software controls, monitors and retains data such as websites accessed by your device. The internet itself also traces this information.
Local Servers: The place that physically stores data.
Using TOR Browser on your device on a home network or public location provides the highest protection against the first three and our Web Portal and database structure provides the highest protection against the fourth.
WHAT ARE “AIR GAPS”?
These are deliberate decisions to separate out one system from another. Our air gap is between the system that receives the data and information and resides on the Web Portal and:
- IT support to access the Web Portal
- Our email server
- The preparation and presentation of the report
While adding more time to preparation of a report, this ensures that there can be no accidental breach of the anonymity of the discloser by us.
WHAT IS METADATA STRIPPING?
All data has some “data about that data”. For example when you make a phone call to make a disclosure (data), there is additional information created. Both the inbound and outbound telephone service providers (internal or external) will record the relevant telephone numbers involved, the date, time and duration of the call (and the charge). This data about the call is the metadata. It can be used to connect you with us.
We cannot prevent this for collection and use of metadata for email, phone and fax and this is why we prefer TOR Browser rather than traditional technology which can leave highly visible and accessible metadata about your disclosure.
For electronic files there is additional information that might identify you. In most commonly used file formats some metadata can be readily accessed through the Menu – File | Properties. This metadata may disclose information about your access to the file.
Our preference is not to provide the file itself, however in the rare case where we do this, we will ensure that all metadata is removed from the file.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH PHONE CALLS, EMAIL AND FAX?
There is nothing wrong with these forms of communication. However each one of these communications creates a greater potential for a disclosure to be traced back to you. Where you elect this form of communication, we would hope that you have tried to access our IT Helps Desk on 1800 73 00 73 to load TOR Browser and to load the access code.
Both the inbound and outbound telephone and facsimiles and emails are recorded and in many cases retained. Deleting an email does not delete the metadata for the email. For all three forms of communication metadata is recorded and retained, including sending/receiving telephone number, facsimile number or email address. The metadata will also include the date, time and duration of the call. Some or all of this metadata form one or multiple sources can be used to connect you with us.
WHY TOR BROWSER?
The TOR Browser, the onion and the Web Portal Database are an integrated best practice approach to provide maximum protection. We have gone to these lengths to offer the highest integrity. We hope by adopting this approach more people will be comfortable in making a disclosure.
Ultimately is it in the organisation’s best interest for disclosures to occur, as they:
- Save money
- Increase efficiency
- Improve the business
- Help to avoid regulatory actions (fines and jail)
In some cases there are already systems in place and the disclosure helps locate where the systems are not working and need improvement.
WHAT IF I WANT MORE SECURITY?
If you want more security, there is an additional option for a “live USB” provided through https://tails.boum.org/about/index.en.html. You will need to undertake this installation using your own initiative.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER BROWSERS LIKE CHROME, FIREFOX, SAFARI, OPERA, ETC?
Given the risks associated with these browsers and allowing them access to the database, they are not allowed to access the database.
There are other forms communicating with us such as direct line, facsimile and email, however we recommend using our anonymous portal.
If you need help please call the IT Help Desk to discuss other options – 1300 73 00 73.
ARE THERE ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO DISCLOSE?
If you need help please call the IT Help Desk to discuss other options – 1300 73 00 73.