The Risks of Being a Whistleblower

An image of a whistleblower with his co-workers in black and white.
An image of a whistleblower with his co-workers in black and white.

Being a whistleblower can also be very difficult in terms of the stress and anxiety associated with standing up to powerful corporate or government interests.

We all like to think that we would do the right thing if we knew about an illegal or harmful act taking place in our midst. But when we discover our employers doing something wrong, whether it’s ignoring safety regulations, stealing wages, or committing other crimes, it can be extremely difficult to blow the whistle. That’s because there are often some significant risks involved in becoming a whistleblower. These risks include;

Employer Retaliation

For someone who’s considering blowing the whistle on their employer, a primary fear is that said employer will retaliate against them. While there are laws in place meant to protect whistleblowers, they are often not enough. This means that those who point out wrong doing might be faced with a hostile work environment, scheduling upsets and demotion, or termination on a false pretence — or even outright termination in a place without strong employee-protection laws. For those with a family to support, this can be a very daunting risk.

Industry Blacklisting

So what if one employer gives you the boot, there’s a whole industry out there, right? Maybe, but if you’re known as a whistleblower then even companies who don’t have anything to hide may be reluctant to hire you. It may be necessary for you to leave your field entirely, or it might mean that the only job you can get is an entry-level position from which you won’t be promoted. In extreme circumstances whistleblowers simply won’t be able to get a new job, period.

Legal Consequences

While speaking up about illegal activity is a noble thing to do, it’s also possible for whistleblowers to be caught up in the punishment that comes with the crime. Often, they’ll have to face charges of their own for being part of the crime in the first place, which can make them even more reluctant to stand up and say something (even though blowing the whistle may result in a lighter sentence).

Professional Violations

In many cases being a whistleblower may violate a contract or a professional obligation. In these instances, there may be additional penalties such as civil suits for breaching agreements and confidences.

But Whistleblowers Get Paid, Right?

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

At the end of the day, being a whistleblower is a very risky endeavour. We can certainly help you to remain anonymous with your website. Contact us, in case you have any questions regarding our services or your privacy online.

Privacy on the Internet: Your Selfie is a Gold Mine for Marketers

An image of smiling friends taking selfie photo from nightclub with billiard.
An image of smiling friends taking selfie photo from nightclub with billiard.

The self-portrait you thought was private, could be used without your permission for marketing purposes.

We all love selfies. You constantly see the ones your friends take in your newsfeed and you post yours on Facebook and Twitter every chance you get. You take your self-portraits anywhere: at stores, restaurants, work, school, or the gym. You even love when your kids put their photos online, so you always press the ‘Like’ button.

There’s just one small catch, says an article from the Wall Street Journal. Several companies are now using your self-portraits for marketing purposes. They look for ones where you’re holding a clearly identifiable product, such as a Starbucks cup, or wearing a noticeable logo. And they prefer photos where you’re smiling, because it implies that you feel good about the things you’re wearing, holding, or consuming. Even the background is useful, since it shows these companies where and how you like to use their products.

Basically, this pictorial information is a treasure trove for market researchers. They can base new campaigns on the context in which their products are being used, and even send targeted ads to you specifically. Your selfie isn’t just a form of self-expression — it’s a promotion.

The privacy controls on Facebook generally prevent picture mining companies from using the images you post there. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, or Pinterest. Pictures on those sites become grist for the marketing mill.

There are no clear laws to protect you against misuse of your photos, so about all you can do is write to the offending sites to express your displeasure. In the meantime, putting your selfies only on Facebook can offer you some measure of privacy. You can also encourage your kids, friends, and relatives to do the same.

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.