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A new resource for tech whistleblowers: The Tech Worker Handbook
Former Google employee Ifeoma Ozoma releases an extended information guide
Former Google and Pinterest employee Ifeoma Ozoma, who resigned from Pinterest in 2020 and went public with her story of racial discrimination, has just released an extended four-part guide, The Tech Worker Handbook (techworkerhandbook.org), billed as "a collection of resources for tech workers who are looking to make more informed decisions about whether to speak out on issues that are in the public interest." Each of the four independent guides is written by experts from a different organization, including:
- The Legal Guide, authored by The Signals Network as part of their Tech Accountability Project.
- The Media Guide, authored by Lioness, a media strategy and story amplification team.
- The Security Guide, authored by EFF Pioneer award winner Matt Mitchell and security risk management firm Elite Strategy Global.
- The Stories Guide, written by Whistleblowing International Network
From the Tech Worker Handbook landing page:
Individuals should not have to rely on whisper networks for justice.
...Deciding to go toe-to-toe with a powerful and well-resourced corporation is difficult for many reasons. Access to information about how to find legal counsel, file a complaint with a governmental organization, work with the media, secure personal information, or ensure physical safety should not be an additional barrier. This project addresses the need for centralized and accessible baseline resources for tech workers...
The Tech Worker Handbook is for ALL tech workers. Whether you provide labor at your tech company as a senior engineer, warehouse handler, content moderator, food prepper, sales manager, custodian, assistant, HR lead, or any other role, this Handbook should be both useful for and accessible to you. So-called “employee handbooks,” provided to workers at the beginning of employment, are ubiquitous within the tech industry. They are filled with the information an employer wants a worker to know, but are void of the content workers need to protect themselves...
Employers of tech workers — tech giants and the myriad companies they turn to for contractors — not only have entire departments dedicated to legal, media, and security issues, but they also have the resources to hire virtually unlimited external assistance when dealing with threats. A worker who considers sharing information that is in the public interest, against the wishes of their employer, is a threat. This Handbook was organized with those workers in mind...
Several media publications have covered the release of the Handbook:
Axios: "Tech whistleblower launches site for tech whistleblowers"
Protocol: "Being a tech whistleblower is dangerous and expensive. Now there’s a guide to the risks."
Business Insider: "The woman who went public about Pinterest's workplace problems created a handbook to help tech workers safely become whistleblowers"
Below I'll include some extracts from the Protocol article
Being a tech whistleblower is dangerous and expensive. Now there’s a guide to the risks
by Anna Kramer, October 06, 2021
... On Wednesday morning [October 6], Pinterest whistleblower Ifeoma Ozoma, alongside whistleblower support agencies including Lioness, the Signals Network, Elite Strategy Global and the Whistleblowing International Network, launched a website intended to serve as a guide to helping workers across the tech industry decide if they want to speak publicly about an issue or story...
The handbook is the brainchild of Ozoma, who became a household name in the tech world after she and Aerica Shimizu Banks, then employees of Pinterest, spoke publicly about their experiences of racial and gender-based discrimination and harassment at the company. Since departing Pinterest, Ozoma has become an activist fighting for workers' ability to speak freely about their experiences at tech companies...
The handbook itself has sections written by different organizations in the whistleblowing space, explaining processes, terms and risks, including, but not limited to: how to talk with reporters, how to think about telling a story, legal resources for whistleblowers, the potential for legal repercussions, the security risks of leaking fundamental documents and how to contact government agencies to report issues or seek a federal or state investigation...
To Ozoma, the creation of the handbook is the beginning of an iterative process, not a guide or a how-to stuck in time. "It's not perfect. I don't agree with every single thing that the experts put in it, but you want as much information as possible so you can make the right decision," she said... "We did it so that it's easier the next time."
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