pandora papers

Hunters and Hunted

Whistleblowers don’t use whistles anymore. They rarely pass manila envelopes.

Today, revealing secrets is done online, whether that’s ransomware which can make your private medical records public, or bank records sent to investigative journalists, the juiciest of all being from offshore banks whose very purpose is to never be revealed.

Some $11.3 trillion in money sits in these secret accounts. Last year, Canada’s gross domestic product was $1.3 trillion, while Ottawa’s annual budget was $300 billion. Tax havens cost Canadians $15 billion a year in lost taxes, which could fund a national childcare program or pay for every student to attend university and college. So shocked titillation isn’t the only suitable reaction we should have to tax havens.

But technology has not just transformed the medium of whistleblowing, it’s amped up the volume.

In 1971, the Pentagon analyst Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times about America’s largely secret war in Vietnam before the official one began. Ellsberg’s report contained 3,000 pages of narrative along with 4,000 pages of supporting documents.

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