Italian Anti-Corruption Authority (ANAC) Adopts Onion Services
Millions of people use Tor every day to evade surveillance and censorship. Tor’s security and privacy protections enable activists to mobilize, journalists to report, and ordinary people to access blocked resources and avoid tracking.
Whistleblowers, those brave individuals who report illicit activity, also depend on Tor to protect their identities when they come forward.
We've highlighted how onion services can be used to secure the web. Now, we're starting to see anonymity technologies become a legal requirement for public agency and corporate anti-corruption compliance, with the first well-known implementation by Xnet in the City Hall of Barcelona in Spain.
Many national laws (such as Italian Dlgs. 231/2001) require companies to adopt corporate governance structures and risk prevention systems, which can include allowing whistleblowing submissions. However, most whistleblowing laws only protect whistleblowers when their identity is disclosed, which can put the person reporting corruption at risk.
In 2016, the International Standards Organization (ISO) released a new model for organizations setting up and operating anti-bribery management systems, ISO 37001:2016. To meet ISO standards, organizations or companies implementing anti-corruption procedures must allow anonymous reporting, as explicitly indicated in point 8.9 of section C of ISO 37001:2016.
Furthermore, national laws (such as recent Italian 179/2017) require the adoption of IT systems for whistleblowing, leading to the practical integration and use of Tor for its technological anonymity features.
To comply with these standards, the Italian Anti-Corruption Authority (ANAC), an administrative watchdog, just launched their national online whistleblowing platform using onion services, giving whistleblowers who come forward a secure way to report illegal activity while protecting their identities. Most anti-corruption whistleblowers first speak out anonymously, and only when they know that their concerns are being addressed do they disclose their identities, as reported by Transparency International Italy, an organization advocating uses of Tor in the fight against corruption since 2014.
ANAC software is based on a customized version of GlobaLeaks, a whistleblowing platform by the Hermes Center that integrates Tor natively. GlobaLeaks is expected to be redistributed to all Italian public agencies (~20.000 in total) to comply with Law 179/2017 and in line with the country’s recent strategic commitment to open-source software and the reuse of code.
Given that Tor is the world’s strongest internet anonymity tool, we expect to see usage of onion services for secure communication systems across all sectors continue to gain traction.
Read more about ANAC’s whistleblowing platform (in Italian) here.
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