Good News From The EU For A Change: A Strong Directive To Protect Whistleblowers

from the time-to-get-leaking dept

A lot of bad stuff has been coming out of the EU lately, notably the awful Copyright Directive with its upload filters. So it makes a pleasant change to report on the passing of strong legislation to protect whistleblowers revealing breaches of EU law, a move which the Pirate MEP Julia Reda describes as "One of the greatest successes of this mandate!". Its scope is wide. Areas covered include public procurement, financial services, money laundering and terrorist financing, product safety, transport safety, environmental protection, nuclear safety, food and feed safety, animal health and welfare, public health, consumer protection, and -- of particular interest to Techdirt readers -- privacy, data protection and security of networks and information systems. Two key components of the new directive are "safe reporting channels" and "safeguards against retaliation", as the European Parliament's press release explains:

To ensure potential whistle-blowers remain safe and that the information disclosed remains confidential, the new rules allow them to disclose information either internally to the legal entity concerned or directly to competent national authorities, as well as to relevant EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies.

In cases where no appropriate action was taken in response to the whistle-blower's initial report, or if they believe there is an imminent danger to the public interest or a risk of retaliation, the reporting person will still be protected if they choose to disclose information publicly.

The law explicitly prohibits reprisals and introduces safeguards to prevent the whistle-blower from being suspended, demoted and intimidated or facing other forms of retaliation. Those assisting whistle-blowers, such as facilitators, colleagues, relatives are also protected.

Member states must ensure whistle-blowers have access to comprehensive and independent information and advice on available procedures and remedies free-of-charge, as well as legal aid during proceedings. During legal proceedings, those reporting may also receive financial and psychological support.

There is now one final vote by EU ministers, expected to proceed without the drama that accompanied the similar vote for the Copyright Directive. Once passed, there will be a two-year period during which EU Member States need to implement the directive in their national legislation.

The general consensus among activists in the digital sphere seems to be that the new directive is probably as good as it could be given the past resistance of some governments to the idea of protecting those who reveal their wrongdoing. It is particularly welcome against the background of the Copyright Directive's upload filters, which will create a convenient mechanism on the main Internet services for blocking documents obtained by whistleblowers. What we need now are the creation of more online sites that are not subject to the Copyright Directive -- because they are not for profit, for example -- willing to host material from whistleblowers encouraged to act by the legal protection afforded by the new EU directive.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter, Diaspora, or Mastodon.

Filed Under: eu, protections, transparency, whistleblowers


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  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 23 Apr 2019 @ 8:52pm

    There is now one final vote by EU ministers, expected to proceed without the drama that accompanied the similar vote for the Copyright Directive.
    Hope springs eternal, ..."Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!"

    Here's betting on a downvote, because rights are for corporate masters, not peons.

    The general consensus among activists in the digital sphere seems to be that the new directive is probably as good as it could be given the past resistance of some governments to the idea of protecting those who reveal their wrongdoing.

    If you water the soup down enough, it will be acceptable to everyone. But there won't be much nourishment in it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 9:16pm

    Won't stop anything.

    Do not snitch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2019 @ 9:16pm

    The way to protect whistleblowers is from the bottom up: strong minimum wage, if they are forced to work for it, basic income if they can't get hired, etc.

    Asking cutthroat capitalists to play fair is delusional.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 1:02am

    Speaking of “whistle-blowers”, I am detecting a seismic change in social media. Really, no kidding. Ever since the 400 pages of the Mueller report came out, my UTube selections have changed. Like, overnight.

    Now UTube offers me shows like “Vector Davis Hanson - Russia Collusion Backfire” and “Russian Collusion Peddlers WIll Turn on Each Other” and “Spygate Origins by Jasper Fakkert”. And more, really, lots of new material that I have never seen before.

    How many people here would consider Sean Hannity a “Whistle-Blower”? Because it sure looks like he and his team have been more right for the last two years than any of the MainStream Media in calling a spade a spade - that is, calling the Russian Collusion Conspiracy a hoax a fraud and a witch hunt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 1:26am

      Re:

      Sounds like your YouTube selections have been completely consistent to begin with, Hamilton.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 2:16am

        Re: Re:

        I think you’re not hearing me - UTube never made these suggestions before.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 2:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "UTube never made these suggestions before"

          They make suggestions based on what you've been watching recently and which channels you subscribe to. If this is a mystery to you... well, it does help explain why you make so many stupid assertions about how it and similar sites actually work...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 3:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You are certainly supposing that you know a lot about my UTube. I might suggest since I have been the one watching UTube on the same TV for years, I might be more familiar with my viewing habits (which have not changed) than you are. That is, you are speaking out of your ass.

            I think someone somewhere is starting to consider engaging with Conservatives, like Victor Davis Hanson, who, IMHO, is brilliant. He describes Trump in really interesting and accurate ways without being partisan at all, just analytical with a lot of historical and literary references to back up his opinions.

            Truth: Have you ever heard him speak? I never had, at least not for more than a few minutes, before yesterday when UTube first presented him to me.

            Is it possible that some senior corporate managers in the Media industry are starting to consider actually engaging with the voting public instead of the tweeting public?

            That would be progress, no doubt. There is an election coming up, after all, and time is starting to run short to circle the wagons and gather the troops around a candidate. Did you see the CNN bit where they got Bernie to endorse the Boston Bomber’s VOTE as important? Wow, that was amazing. I mean I respect Bernie for having consistent convictions, but wow, I think he went over the cliff on that one, with some help from CNN. I doubt you would find 51% of the American Public that would support the Boston Bomber (or his peers) voting in the next election. Or do you support Bernie and Terrorists in the Voting Booth?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 3:51am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I might suggest since I have been the one watching UTube on the same TV for years"

              ...and no videos about the Mueller report appeared before now! Therefore, it must be some move on the part of YouTube and not the collection of history and subscribed links you've built up over the years showing you new videos based on new events! Brilliant!

              As for the rest, being off your meds and consuming the kind of media you're on is throwing you off balance again. If you're not going to stop the steady stream of crap you've been consuming on YouTube over the years, might I suggest at least getting a refill of your prescription?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 4:00am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Ok, I understand, I was trying to make a serious point but you are just being a troll.

                IMHO, I do think (maybe) there is a shift taking place in the Media industry. Now that the Mueller report is actually out, I think many people (with power) have reconsidered their opinion. This all got arose because the article spoke to Whistle Blowers, and I asked the question whether anyone here considers Sean Hannity a Whistle Blower. He has been saying that the Russian Collusion narrative has been disinformation for a long time. Now the New York Times is starting to ask the same questions - have the Russians (together with Hillary) been behind this whole hoax. And from that perspective, is Sean Hannity a legitimate Whistle Blower?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 4:16am

                  Re: Enquiring minds want to know

                  The real question is: did Shiva ever get that sex change after he went into hiding after he lost so badly bro?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 4:26am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "I do think"

                  Assumes evidence not in question.

                  What's really happening is that the Mueller report not only does exonerate Trump and his cronies completely, the heavily redacted official release indicates that there's a lot more to come. Therefore, a new wave of propaganda has been created to influence those who are likely to believe a new misinformation campaign, targeted by their previous social media activity. The kind of person who is incredulous enough to look at the kinds of headlines you quoted and actually believe that there's something behind them other than some random troll farm's "opinion".

                  I'm not seeing any of the videos you mention, because I don't use YouTube to view right-wing propaganda and paranoid conspiracy videos. You are seeing them, and you clearly wallow in those things from time to time. The dots aren't hard to connect.

                  This is not some new media shift. It's people trying to take advantage of people with your kind of browsing history for ad dollars and/or political influence.

                  "is Sean Hannity a legitimate Whistle Blower?"

                  How does he fit the definition of "whistle blower"? No, stating his opinion on TV does not make him one, even if he accidentally told the truth (unusual for the network he hosts on, but even a stopped clock can be right occasionally).

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 4:31am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Ok, Paul, I can accept everything you said. It could be true, I cannot prove it is not true. Maybe someone paid because of my browsing history to give me something in particular. You might be right.

                    If you can allow for the possibility that Sean Hannity “accidentally told the truth”, well, then, that’s enough for me. I know we don’t agree on a lot of things, but we do agree on this one.

                    Maybe you’re not so bad after all.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 4:48am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "Maybe someone paid because of my browsing history to give me something in particular"

                      The beauty of algorithms is that they don't even have to pay, they just fill the videos with enough keywords and inflammatory claims that they get watched and shared by the kinds of people you already associate with for free.

                      "If you can allow for the possibility that Sean Hannity “accidentally told the truth”, well, then, that’s enough for me"

                      You've gone from "Hannity should be considered a whistle blower" to "he didn't lie for once" as being the acceptable standard? Hmmm...

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                        identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 4:52am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Yes, that’s right, you said it correctly. I often recognize how biased I am, and when I see someone who also appears biased, but they leave ROOM for what appears to be the ACTUAL truth (from my view), well, then, I think it’s my job to shake their hand and accept their opinions (if at all possible) with special regard. Because a lot of people are CRAZY, and would never accept even the most rational of conclusions. You appear NOT TO BE CRAZY. Well, probably my low opinion of you is my fault, because you have proven to be open to actual facts. So this is me saying that maybe my bias has infected my opinion of you, and I was wrong.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 5:43pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          I often recognize how biased I am

                          Gunning for funniest comment of the week?

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 10:11am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "even if he accidentally told the truth (unusual for the network he hosts on, but even a stopped clock can be right occasionally)"

                    Hannity is on CNN?

                    People believe talking heads who spew what they want to hear. It's not unique to the right side of the aisle.

                    Believing something because it's on your favorite network doesn't make it true.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 11:52am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "Hannity is on CNN?"

                      No, he's on Fox, a network with a track record of outright lying to its audience, which is why it's notable if one of their talking heads actually told the unvarnished truth. Why do you people seem to think there's only 2 networks in the US, anyway? Are you that brainwashed now that you can't conceive of more than 2 outlets or positions?

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 1:13pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Sigh. You don't like the Fox network. Got it.

                        But CNN, formerly known as the Clinton News Network, is no better - they just cater to a different crowd of gullibles.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 9:31pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          "CNN, formerly known as the Clinton News Network"

                          Not only is "no U!" not a good counterpoint to the outright propaganda of Fox, making up childish names for CNN really doesn't make your argument work. Quite apart from the fact that it's possible not to like either network, thus making your flailing attempt at a rebuttal rather silly, this is a tactic that won't work with anyone that's passed the age of puberty mentally.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 4:18am

              Re: Better luck next time bro.

              Sorry blue broke up with you after he refused to wear the Fran mask. And Jhon boy shat your panties. Dating in the mental ward can be hard I hear.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 2:23am

      Re:

      "Ever since the 400 pages of the Mueller report came out, my UTube selections have changed"

      Mine changed over the weekend as well. Largely because of me watching a bunch of videos from some new artists I discovered on my days off, so my feed is now full of artists that weren't there before that! Funny how that works. YouTube are keying into whichever moronic filter you used to have the report summarised for you with the desired political slant your echo chamber requires, nothing more.

      Oh, and what's with your refusal to actually spell YouTube correctly now?

      "a witch hunt."

      They did find a lot of "witches", some of them just starting well deserved prison sentences. Even Barr admitted the report doesn't completely exonerate Trump, there just wasn't enough direct evidence to prove that particular allegation (the inability to prove having been caused by deliberate destruction of evidence, not any failing on Mueller's part).

      But, no matter what your propaganda channel tells you, this isn't over. Why do you think there's so much redacted from the released version of the report, which was deliberately published in a non-searchable format, while other similar reports were published as paperbacks almost immediately?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 4:14am

      Re: I have a great channel for you bro

      It’s called 3.4%

      Guess what it’s about bro.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 4:45am

      Re:

      You watch YouTube, Hamilton?

      That can't be right. Google owns YouTube. And you would never support a corporation so un-American as Google, would you Hamilton? Right? Right? Right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 8:14am

      Re:

      Sean Hannity has never been right about anything in his entire life.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bobob, 24 Apr 2019 @ 2:41am

    Won't it be illegal for whistleblowers to supply copyrighted documents as evidence?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 6:07am

    Define Whistleblowers

    Was Luke Skywalker a Freedom Fighter or a Terrorist?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 6:56am

      Re: Define Whistleblowers

      Never mind that those are two orthogonal axes, as "terrorist" describes someone by their tactical playbook, while "freedom fighter" defines someone by what side they are on. One can be a rebel/freedom fighter while staying well away from terrorism tactics, and governments can (and do!) engage in terrorism (using proxies to provide plausible deniability, of course).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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