Whistleblowing is the public disclosure of information with the purpose of revealing wrongdoings and abuses of power that harm the public interest. This book presents a comprehensive theory of whistleblowing: it defines the concept, reconstructs its origins, discusses it within the current ethical debate, and elaborates a justification of unauthorized disclosures. Its normative proposal is based on three criteria of permissibility: the communicative constraints, the intent, and the public interest conditions. The book distinguishes between two forms of whistleblowing, civic and political, showing how they apply in the contexts of corruption and government secrecy.
A crucial part of the proposal is dedicated to the impact of security policies and government secrecy on civil liberties. It argues that unrestrained secrecy limits the epistemic entitlement of citizens to know under which conditions their rights are limited by security policies and corporate interests. When citizens are denied the right to assess when these policies are prejudicial to their freedoms, whistleblowing represents a legitimate form of political agency that safeguards the fundamental rights of citizens against the threat of unrestrained secrecy by government power.