18_Whistleblowing

The term whistle-blower comes from the whistle a referee uses to indicate an illegal or foul play.US civic activist Ralph Nader coined the phrase in the early 1970s to avoid the negative connotations found in other words such as “informers” and “snitches”.

A whistleblower is a person who exposes misconduct, alleged dishonest or illegal activity occurring in an organisation. The alleged misconduct may be classified in many ways; for example, a violation of a law, rule, regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest, such as fraud, health and safety or environmental violations, and corruption. Whistleblowers may make their allegations internally (within an organisation) or externally (to regulators, law enforcement agencies, to the media or to groups concerned with the issues).

One of the first laws that protected whistleblowers was the 1863 United States False Claims Act, which tried to combat fraud by suppliers of the United States government during the Civil War. The act encourages whistleblowers by promising them a percentage of the money recovered or damages won by the government and protects them from wrongful dismissal. Similar rewards exist for whistleblowing on tax evasion and fraud.

Whistleblowers frequently face reprisal, sometimes at the hands of the organisation or group which they have accused, sometimes from related organizations, and sometimes under law.
Questions about the legitimacy of whistleblowing, the moral responsibility of whistleblowing, and the appraisal of the institutions of whistleblowing often lead to ethical considerations.

Famous whistleblowing examples include Deep Throat / Watergate and more recently Wikileaks and Brad Manning.

For more examples:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_whistleblowers