Experts predict an increase in the number of technology whistleblowers

Following the disclosure earlier this month of the identity of the Facebook Inc. whistleblower therefore more employees of technology companies are coming forward with concerns and information about their workplaces, according to attorneys who specialize in whistleblowing issues.

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, admitted that she was responsible for compiling the documents that formed the basis of the newspaper’s Facebook Files series on internal issues at the social media company. She has since come forward with her allegations and testified before the House of Representatives.

The former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s whistleblower office, Jane Norberg, believes that when a high-profile whistleblower comes forward moreover “you will end up seeing more people in the tech industry potentially considering coming forward with what they are seeing within their own company.”

When it comes to uncovering and investigating potential wrongdoing, such as bribery and financial fraud, whistleblowers have emerged as an essential and effective tool for businesses and regulators. Former Google researcher Jack Poulson and Theranos whistleblower Tyler Shultz were among the first to speak out publicly against unethical practices at their respective companies in recent years, preceding Ms. Haugen.

Experts predict an increase in the number of technology whistleblowers
Experts predict an increase in the number of technology whistleblowers

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP

 When allegations are made public, it is possible that others in similar fields or at the same company will come forward as a result, according to Ms. Norberg, who worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission for nine years. She is now a partner at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, where she advises businesses on allegations of whistleblower misconduct.

This has occurred in other industries as well. When a whistleblower reported that Pfizer Inc.’s Warner-Lambert was promoting one of its prescription drugs for treatments that were not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

A roughly $430 million settlement was reached in 2004 furthermore it prompted more employees in the pharmaceutical industry to come forward with information, according to Erika Kelton, a partner at law firm Phillips & Cohen LLP.

The release of a website called The Tech Worker Handbook coincided with the testimony of a Facebook whistleblower before Congress, according to the company. It is intended to serve as a resource for employees in startups and technology companies who wish to express themselves. 

Technology Whistleblowers: Final Words

The website was created by Ifeoma Ozoma, a former Pinterest Inc. employee, and funded by the “philanthropic investment firm” Omidyar Network. Content contributors to the site include organisations such as the Signals Network, a non-profit that supports whistleblowers, and Lioness, a storytelling platform that promotes female empowerment.

Read More: 10 Emerging Technology Trends


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