Mark MacGann, the whistleblower behind the Uber Files, on Wednesday testified to the Brussels Parliament, arguing that stricter lobbying regulations are needed.
“Lobbying is a fundamental and important part of democracy,” MacGann told lawmakers. “But the way it currently operates — with little transparency or oversight — disproportionately favors the powerful to the detriment of us all.”
MacGann recounted his experience as a former lobbyist for Uber, whose aggressive lobbying tactics were featured in several major stories published as part of the Uber Files in July 2022.
MacGann said that the legislative process disproportionately favors the interests of big tech companies at the expense of workers. This gives unprecedented power to those companies and undermines democracy, he said.
MacGann encouraged Belgium to support the Platform Work Directive that the European Parliament approved earlier this month. He asked Belgium to oppose member states such as France who he said seek to water the legislation down in favor of platform companies such as Uber.
MacGann also called on Belgian lawmakers to strengthen the recent Whistleblower Directive that just came into effect in Belgium on Wednesday.
While The Signals Network provided him legal and media support, not all whistleblowers are as fortunate, he said. Whistleblowers should not be forced to go to court to protect themselves or bear the cost and time of litigation, and the current law will only deter future whistleblowers who are integral to the democratic process, he argued.
Last week, MacGann spoke with Belgian publications De Tijd, Knack and Le Soir. Those interviews were published on Wednesday. Le Soir also recorded a podcast interview with one of the reporters who wrote the story, Amandine Cloot, about what we can learn from that interview.
MacGann will also testify to the Dutch and French parliaments on March 8 and 9, respectively.
Since being revealed as the source of the Uber Files, MacGann has become a staunch advocate for platform workers’ rights. In October, he testified to the European Parliament as they debated the Directive designed to regulate the treatment of platform workers across the European Union.
Since blowing the whistle, MacGann has received legal and advocacy support from The Signals Network, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by journalists, lawyers, transparency activists and whistleblowers to support and protect those who witness wrongdoing and share public interest information with the press.
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