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Weekly News Round-Up / 30 Jan

Your weekly dose of what’s up in whistleblowing.

Whistleblowers at the heart of government.

A GCHQ employee who was fired after publicly asking for the resignation of the then cabinet secretary Simon Case in the final weeks of Johnson’s government is bringing a claim under whistleblowing legislation.  (The Guardian).

+ A new complaint made by a Tory member to the investigatory powers tribunal alleges that MI5 repeatedly declined to look into evidence that a suspected Russian agent was attempting to gain access to prominent Conservative politicians and channel illegal Russian donations into the party. (The Guardian)

+ More civil servants intended to lodge complaints against Dominic Raab over his behaviour but allegedly pulled out for fear of being identified. This might be because speaking out about bullying in the civil service seems only possible via the complaints process.  (BBC)

Whistleblowing sheds light on (more) shocking cases of child abuse.

Ex-employees have claimed that children suffered “severe” injury because of exceptionally low staffing levels in a third expose into claims of inadequate care at private hospitals managed by The Huntercombe Group. (The Independent)

+ At a hotel where scores of immigrant children are going missing, a whistleblower alleges that child migrants are subjected to racial abuse. (The Argus)

Long way to go for Twitter accountability.

Annika Collier Navaroli, a Twitter whistleblower, criticised the US House committee’s report for omitting much of her incriminating testimony about big social media companies. (MSNBC, CNN)

+ A new whistleblower (who has spoken with Congress and the Federal Trade Commission) says Twitter engineers (up to 4000 employees) still have access to an internal programme – formerly called “GodMode” – that lets them tweet from any account. And Twitter doesn’t have the ability to log who uses GodMode. (Bloomberg £, Engadget)

 Promising efforts towards whistleblowing law reform.

Recognising that government secrecy reform legislation poses serious risks to press freedom and whistleblower rights, MPs from all political parties are planning to collaborate with House of Lords members to change it. (FT)

+ The Legal Services Board (LSB) has suggested that lawyers could be banned from drafting non-disclosure agreements in cases of sexual harassment, discrimination or whistleblowing are involved unless the member of staff involved has asked for one, the Legal Services Board (LSB) has suggested. Additionally, law firms may be required to submit yearly reports to their regulators detailing the quantity and value of NDAs they have produced, while individual lawyers may be subject to “mandatory training”. (Legal Futures)

The long after-effects of whistleblowing
Whistleblower Azeem Rafiq continues to experience victimisation long after speaking out – he was forced to leave the country and now travels with security. (The Guardian)

Green whistleblowing continues…

Renewable fuel giant may be misleading public about its eco-credentials: a whistleblower formerly employed by biomass giant Enviva said the company’s claims about how it produces its products are “a joke”. (Gizmodo)

Whistleblowing rewards strengthened in the US.

The anti-money laundering act of 2020’s whistleblower provisions dramatically increase the legal safeguards and financial rewards available to anyone who comes forward to report AML and sanctions violations. (Financier Worldwide)

+ The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday said it has awarded a whistleblower payout of more than $28 million to joint tipsters who shared “critical information” for one of the agency’s enforcement actions. (Reuters)

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