How Much Can a Whistleblower Get Paid?

An image of businessman looking at document through magnifying glass.
An image of businessman looking at document through magnifying glass.

Whistleblowers are making a big difference to many defrauding cases involving corporations and governments globally.

Being whistleblower has never been easy and is certainly at high risk situation. If you are willing to step up and put an end to any illegal or unethical practices, it is also possible that you are committing to the amount of career suicide. Whistleblowers are not usually promoted and they may lose their jobs completely. Whenever they try to get a different job in the same field they might find that they have been blacklisted as a result of doing the right thing.

It’s true that whistleblowers are entitled to a percentage of the settlement in any cases they are involved. The problem is even though there may be large sum of money involved, it can take years and sometimes decade for these cases to be completely settled. In the meantime, the whistleblower has to deal with some related negative consequences while waiting for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

How much Whistleblowers Get Paid?

In the United States for instance, according to the False Claims Act (a government effort to recover damages from fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid charges, defence and construction contracting, and importing), in a normal case they are entitled to 25-30 percent of the proceeds from the suit. In cases where the government steps in and takes primary responsibility for the suit, a whistleblower is only entitled to 15-25 percent of the proceeds. Of course, the penalty for defrauding the government may vary from $5,500 to $11,000 per charge, so the charges can stack up quickly.

When do Whistleblowers Get Paid?

Whistleblowers don’t get paid until the suit has been brought to a close and the full amount of money is paid to the government. While that might sound simple, truly complex cases of fraud can take many years and countless hours of courtroom session before decision is rendered or settlement is reached. During that time they are often blacklisted in their field, which can lead to a significantly reduced standard of living (assuming that the whistleblower can get another job) to them and any dependents.

Money is just one of many factors that whistleblowers have to consider, but it is important. On one hand, it is quite possible that whistleblower might receive hundreds of thousands of dollars or more for reporting the fraud. It is also possible that they’ll have to wait years before seeing any of that money.

At the end of the day, being a whistleblower is a very risky endeavour. Contact us, in case you have any questions regarding our services or your privacy on the internet.

Understanding the Right for Privacy on the Internet

An image of young girl working on laptop at home covering man's face with hand.
An image of young girl working on laptop at home covering man's face with hand.

Limiting the amount of personal information on the internet can help to minimize the possible risks.

It seems like every time you check your newsfeed, there’s another story about someone’s privacy being violated online. Whether it was the GamerGate movement handing out Felicia Day’s personal information, the NSA collecting aggregate data from people online, or the hacktivist group Anonymous handing out information users thought was secure, it seems that online privacy is an easily-breached fence.

Just because privacy is regularly breached however doesn’t answer the bigger, more important question, do you have a right to privacy on the Internet?

What is Right to Privacy?

For those looking for the right to privacy in the American Constitution, stop searching because it’s not in print. The idea of the right to privacy is something that the U.S. Supreme Court has said is implied by other amendments in it, including the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 9th. The court argues that people have a right to keep their private lives private from the government. They have a right to not consent to unreasonable, warrantless searches, and to remain silent when they’re being asked questions without a representative.

What does It Mean on the Internet?

Most western governments have some sort of privacy law – but whether they’ve caught up with modern technology is another matter. The main issue when it comes to privacy on the internet isn’t only about government spying – by large, people’s information is not even being stolen from them, rather most people’s personal information is already out there for anyone who knows how to find it.

Let’s take an obvious example, Facebook. When you join the social network you agreed to its terms of service. This includes collecting your information, keeping records of everything that you post and keeping things you’ve deleted on file for 90 days or more in many cases. It also means that your information as a user – what you like, what you follow, your age, gender, pretty much of everything including your name and other personal details – can be sold to the highest bidder. This is called data mining and advertisers are typically use it to figure out what target audience likes, so they can create the best possible ads to entice those groups. Anyone who has ever seen an ad in their feed obviously targeted to them has probably figured this out by now.

That’s not all that is going on in a social network. For instance, you may have your privacy settings so that only friends can see your contents. But if just one of your friends likes or shared a post, then the control is out of your hand and now anyone in that friend’s network can see what happened. This was a major issue of a teacher whose pictures of herself at a brewery cost her job, even though she was certain none of her students could access her Facebook page or photos because of her privacy settings. They couldn’t, but it was a parent who found her page.

One Great Big Modern Mess

Just as British children today might not see why Brave New World is a terrifying book – since there are cameras everywhere and invasion of privacy is commonplace. It is often difficult for people to understand what they’re giving up in the age of the Internet. As soon as a picture, status or piece of personal information is put up somewhere on the web, it is actually been logged, archived and stored. If someone can legitimately find that information without violating any user agreements, that is not a violation of your privacy on the internet because you are the one who put it out there in the first place – it is also why law enforcement can use your Facebook feed to track you down and apprehend you. Same goes for corporate data mining – nothing you put up on a social network hosted by someone else is truly belongs to you anymore.

No Data Online is 100% Secure

An important thing for internet users is to understand that no data that is connected to world-wide-web is 100% secure. No matter if the service where the information is submitted, is using the latest security software and patches, hackers may still have their way to break in – and it has happened before numerous times with well-known internet services. If you have highly classified data, including pictures or documents you don’t want ANYONE to see, keeping those on offline storage is the only completely secure solution.

So What Can I Do?

For starters what you can do is limiting or stop putting your information out there if you don’t want the world to see it. Most of us are not willing to do that, so at the very least you should know how your information is being used and make sure you know what you’re actually agreeing to.

Finally, there are examples where invasion of privacy on the internet contributes a real crime. For instance, finding someone’s home address by checking public records is not illegal. Indiscriminately dispersing that information along with associated threat had constituted several crimes, like the rape and death threats faced by many online feminist activists. At a minimum level, threats like this should get the user banned and the individual may also be brought on charges like reckless endangerment, libel, or defamation of character, depending on the circumstances.

So even if you don’t always have a right to privacy on the internet, you do still have a right to safety. Many believed that is just not enough and numerous questions remain about digital law enforcement, at least it’s a good awareness to start with.

Find out more information about improving your privacy on the internet, please contact us. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you any way we can with this process.

Human Body: Source of Energy Like Never Before

An image of a woman with lightbulb.
An image of a woman with lightbulb.

Human body could be the next renewable energy resource if the world experienced a steep decline in global energy crisis.

We may live in a high-tech world but majority of us still rely on a rapidly diminishing supply of coals and fossil fuels – the questions of sustainability are becoming extremely urgent. How deep are we willing to mine and what sacrifices are we willing to make in the continuing quest for energy?

Israeli industrial designer Naomi Kizhner was intentionally to provoke some opinions and discussions through her project as part of her graduation at college and the answer she’d created is slightly disturbing, to say the least. Her regard sentiments and concerns are however at the right place.

How Close To The Matrix Are We?

For those who haven’t seen The Matrix, it is a science fiction movie back in those days which pictured and filmed humanity being enslaved by a race of sentient machines that are harvesting natural electricity produced by human bodies as an energy resource. It is exactly the sort of question that Kizhner wanted people around the world to seriously looking at.

Kizhner’s Energy Addicts takes a post-humanistic perspective, viewing the human body not only as a person but instead as a renewable energy resource too. These pieces would be inserted into wearer’s skin to catch involuntary movements like the flow of blood in veins, pulses and eyes blinking to produce kinetic energy then later be converted to electricity to power the light and wheel in the devices themselves. On one hand, it is a terrifying prospects like something right out of a cyberpunk dystopia where bodies are little more than cogs in the system. On the other hand to the logic side, there’s no denying that the human body is a renewable energy resource.

“There are lots of developments of renewable energy resources, but the human body is a natural resource for energy that is constantly renewed, as long as we are alive. Technologically we are not too far away from these ideas becoming a reality, but practically speaking, will we be willing to sacrifice our body in order to produce more energy? My intention is to provoke a discussion. I hope that the project will make people think about the possibility that this could be their future, and make them think about whether it is the future they want or whether we can do something different today to avoid it.” – Kizhner

Her decorative jewelleries are made of gold and 3D-printed biopolymer, each design in the collection would be worn on different parts of the body to harvest energy from specific physiological functions. Nevertheless her innovative designs are slightly seen as bizarre in some cases and are certainly not for the faint hearted.

Where Do We Draw The Line?

When pursuing the idea of renewable energy resources, it is easy to lose sight of the real issue. Instead of asking how we can produce the most energy at some possibilities, it might be more important question to ask how we can live within our means to electricity consumptions. Kizhner’s idea may not be the ultimate solution for resolving the energy crisis, but it reminds us that if we don’t take the energy situation seriously from now, we just might become the next renewable energy resource. Are we willing to wait another decade to materialize or shall we initially practice go green lifestyle from now on before it’s too late?

Quick Start Guide for Choosing a Web Hosting Provider

An image of a business man pointing to transparent board with text: Web Hosting.
An image of a business man pointing to transparent board with text: Web Hosting.

Choosing the right web hosting provider for your website is a crucial factor to make your business successful.

There are so many web hosting companies out there offering so many different options, picking the right one can be a daunting task. Not only do you have to consider the amount of actual bandwidth you’ll need, but you also have to think about the type of hosting that will work for your website. Keeping the following considerations in mind should give you a little more confidence when choosing a web host.

“Free” Web Hosting Providers

When comparing your options for web hosting providers, pay close attention to the types of services available. Free web hosting comes always with a catch. Most free hosting providers come with limitations. In some cases, you could not use your own scripts or the hosting provider would insert advertising banners on your website. If you are planning on starting a serious online project, no matter if it is just a small personal blog, you should stop to seriously ponder paying your web host for getting full access. You can get a quality web hosting service only for €3.40 EUR (≈$4.30 USD) a month. This should be fit for everyone’s budget.

It may be also difficult to transfer your website elsewhere if you built it by using “free” website builder provided by the service. It is always good to have an exit strategy in case your web hosting services goes under or is not working as expected, so you won’t waste the time you already spend on building your website.

Choose a Reputable Hosting Provider

Numerous web hosting business are born and dying every day. Unfortunately many times when a hosting provider decides to quit, it happens unannounced. This means that your website may die with the provider.

You want to make sure that your site is hosted with people who actually know what they are doing. A good idea is to use Google to find unbiased customer reviews of your service provider candidate. If you’ll find praising reviews for over years of time, your website will be probably in good hands.

Safe Guards for Your Domain

If you are anyway about to choose an unreputable hosting provider for some reason, it may be a good idea to register your domain with a bigger registry service. This saves you a lot of stress, in case your hosting provider stops answering your emails when you wish to renew or move your domain elsewhere. Make sure you will have full control over your domain so you can unlock it and transfer it out whenever you want.

Also, beware of the “free domain” gimmick. A free domain certainly sounds nice, but this typically means that the hosting company retains ownership of it. In this case, you’re either stuck with the company forever or you have to buy the domain later for a high price. Ask questions during the research process about ownership and renewal fees so you’re not taken by surprise down the line.

The Level of Support

Most of webmasters need help of the customer support every once in a while. This is where you see the difference between sour apples and sweet oranges. Before signing up with your service provider, try to contact their support. See how quickly they respond and whether the answer is with the level of professionalism you expect. Consider only choosing a hosting service that has 24/7 support available (including Level-2 and Level-3 support).

Backup

You’ve probably asked yourself whether you can trust web hosting companies to back up your files. Weekly or daily backups are available with most of the hosting providers. But keep in mind that even though the host needs to perform regular backups, it’s unwise not to do off-site backups as well.

Any web hosting company will allow you to create a website, but a good one will help you avoid headaches in maintaining it. Considering these few aspects of a company before you jump in should provide some solid footing in making your choice.

If you’re still not sure which direction to go for your web hosting provider, contact us. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you any way we can with this process.

Political Donations vs. Free Speech

An image of political metaphors, political rally, politician at the debate, parliamentary speech, freedom of speech concept, and democracy concept.
An image of political metaphors, political rally, politician at the debate, parliamentary speech, freedom of speech concept, and democracy concept.

Free speech in politics should be fairly justified to protect the rights of democracy for the people.

Freedom of speech or free speech, is a right to express and communicate one’s opinions and ideas, and is one of the most important rights anyone can have when it comes to the political process.

Political campaigns and elections are always associated with donations or soft money, we often realized about the power of money although as one may say money is not everything but the truth that appeared before our lives is everything is money. Money does make changes in many aspects especially in political elections which will usually influence the capability of each candidate during campaigns’ seasons and processes. The amounts of donation received by any candidates are volatile and have no limit often depending on the group of supporters with different financial background also depending on proposed policies and interests.

Nevertheless the most important question that a lot of people have been asking remains – should donations to the political process be considered as a form of free speech? This relative question about donations or soft money in politics are continuing and growing to further extend.

The Argument in Brief

The Supreme Court of the United States has heard numerous cases about this question and mostly decided that putting a limit on how much money someone can donate to a political campaign is like putting a limit on how much free speech that person has.

This argument is based on some flawed logic. Taken in its own context, the ‘Money = Free Speech’ argument says by donating money means you are expressing your political support for an individual or a party in a given election. By limiting the amount of money you can donate, the argument goes – you are silencing donors by taking away the power of the purse.

That’s not really the case and for an important reason – money is an inherently unequal playing field. For example, take two persons who support different candidates for their city’s mayor election. One supporter works a regular 9-5 job and has maybe $50 a week in balance after all of his household expenses. Another supporter is a millionaire who chose to spend half a million dollars to support the candidate he likes. If money were “speak”, one candidate would be whispering while the other candidate would be screaming into a bank of 25 megaphones.

Soft Money Interest

Outside of cases of genuine corruption and election fraud, there is no guarantee that the candidate who received the most monetary support will be elected. This is like saying there’s no guarantee that the candidate with the biggest media presence or the one with the biggest campaign staffs is going to win an election. But all of these things help because promoting oneself as a good leader is part of the job as a politician.

Calling money in politics means those citizens and entities with extreme wealth can make big donations that make the most difference in political campaigns, are allowed to speak more than others. And since politicians have to prepare for the next election almost as soon as they win the current one, they will spend hours on the phone with big donors when they should be serving the public. This means the interests of those big donors are more likely to take precedence in their minds than the genuine good of their constituents and the nation as a whole.

The Abstract

The issue is a question of equality and balance. Political donations or soft money can be illustrated or considered as a form of speech in the same way that throwing a brick through a window. Nobody believes in protecting the right of the brick thrower to “speak” by committing an act of violence over the right of the window owner to be secured from destructive acts.

The problem is that the Supreme Court neither understands nor cares that big donations in political process is a form of violence against democracy, corrupting the very foundation of individual’s voice and vote. The court always understands the abstract concepts that empower corporations and wealthy politicians, but rarely understands the abstract concepts that empower individuals and protect democracy.

Find out more information about free speech on online platform, please contact us. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you any way we can with this process.