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Thematic Issue: Revitalising Legal Authorities

Corporate Whistleblowing, Smart Regulation and Regtech: The Coming of the Whistlebot?


Vivienne Brand

The recent evolution of corporate whistleblowing has demonstrated the capacity of effective internal corporate whistleblowing systems to support regulatory aims. Further, theoretical support for the role of internal corporate whistleblowers can be found in the smart regulation paradigm, which points to the potential for whistleblowers to operate as surrogate regulators. In light of this, the potential impact of fast-developing ‘RegTech’ applications on corporate whistleblowing activity has significant regulatory implications. While ‘first’ generation RegTech applications such as improved data analytics already have the capability to assist corporations to implement more efficient internal whistleblowing systems, the rise of second-generation AI-powered RegTech technologies is likely to further disrupt, and potentially transform, the practice of whistleblowing in corporations. As AI advances, internal corporate whistleblowers may be supplemented, or even replaced, by ‘whistlebots’ with the ability to report autonomously, with dramatic implications for the role of whistleblowing as a corporate regulatory device.

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(2020) 43(3) UNSWLJ 801: