New report: To truly hold Big Tech accountable, whistleblowers need better protections

human rights defenders

Over the past decade, the biggest revelations about Big Tech’s activities have come not from tech companies, or even civil society or governments. Instead, they have come from Big Tech’s employees.

In a new report titled “Big Tech Accountability Depends on Better Protection for Whistleblowers,” TSN’s Legal Team examines how, in an industry where transparency is almost non-existent and regulation is hard to enforce, whistleblowers have become a fundamental source of light for those seeking to understand and mitigate the impact the companies are having on our daily lives.

However, they have done so at great personal risk and often without the support needed to ensure their safety. They have faced financial ruin, suffered emotional trauma and the loss of family and friends, and even been doxed by their employers, having to flee for their physical safety.

The report outlines how there is a need to:

  1. Empower tech workers to know and understand their rights.
  1. Strengthen support systems for tech workers who do speak out.
  1. Amplify whistleblowers’ voices to ensure their disclosures have impact, thereby sending a signal to others that they too can safely disclose.
  1. Strengthen legal protections to better protect those who speak out.

The report comes as tech giants such as Google, Apple and Meta are forced to make substantial changes to their operations to comply with new regulations around the world to encourage competition in the digital economy and protect certain users from unauthorized data-sharing and targeted advertising practices, among other goals.

Governments across the world agree that Big Tech needs to be regulated and held accountable just like other behemoth industries of the modern world such as the auto industry and banking. However, the only way they can effectively regulate it is to understand these tech companies from the inside.

That’s why tech whistleblowers need to be acknowledged as key sources of information for regulators and the public, and why those whistleblowers should feel safe, supported and protected to speak out for the welfare of society.

Read the full report here.

About TSN

TSN is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to supporting whistleblowers who risk their livelihoods to share public interest information with the press. Founded in 2017 by journalists, whistleblowers and lawyers, TSN operates internationally to hold powerful interests accountable. TSN provides customized support to a selected group of whistleblowers who have contributed to published reports of significant wrongdoing. This support may include legal, psychological, physical safety, temporary safe-housing, online safety, career support and communication support.

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