Online portal that protects whistleblowers' identity
Whistleblowers using the landmark RTI Act to blow the lid off corruption in various agencies have met with threats, some even losing their lives, but an online portal is helping such people get details they want without revealing their original identity.
The brainchild of an IIT engineer, an NRI and a web designer, the portal RTI Anonymous has come a long way since its inception last October.
Aimed at protecting the original identity of the person who needs information on any subject, RTI Anonymous community files an application with the agency concerned in their name and upload the documents obtained on their website.
The original information seeker is also notified through an email.
The idea of launching a platform to protect the whistleblowers' struck Ritesh Singh, an IIT-Kharagpur student, after RTI activist Shehla Masood's murder in Bhopal in August 2011.
"We did not want RTI activists to live in the shadow of fear. We thought we could leverage technology to solve this problem by acting as a facilitator. Since I was working in the field of RTI since 2003, not much background work was required," Singh said.
The trio launched the portal with an investment of a paltry Rs 10,000.
Twenty-eight whistle blowers have been killed since the RTI Act has come into force and many are living in the shadow of fear, the portal said.
The founders claim, since its inception, the website has helped 350 whistle blowers in obtaining information without being susceptible to any kind of harassment or victimisation.
The requester just has to draft the RTI Application as much as he/she can and the RTI Anonymous will take care of the rest, promises the online community.
Though the founders are encouraged by the success and good response to the community efforts, they are concerned with the crunch of volunteers towards the initiative.
"The biggest problem that we are facing is of crunch of volunteers to file more RTIs for the anonymous whistle blowers," Singh said.