Vote Here Now for the 2021 Whistleblower of the Year
Whistleblower Insider wants to hear from you on who should be honored as our 2021 Whistleblower of the Year. As in past years, we are especially interested in those individuals who best encapsulate the qualities of the typical whistleblower — courage, strength, integrity, selflessness, and a deep concern for public health and safety. Check out last year’s candidates, including last year’s winner, Rebekah Jones. She was the former data scientist for the Florida Department of Health who refused to manipulate COVID-19 tracking data.
This year’s lineup is equally impressive. They are set forth below. You can choose from among this listing or identify your own candidate. And please add in the comments section why you believe your candidate is deserving of the honor. Voting will continue through the end of January with results of your top selections to be announced shortly thereafter. Thanks for voting!
- Britney Spears Whistleblower Alex Vlasov – He is the former employee of the now-defunct private security firm Black Box, who ultimately brought down the company by speaking out against its private surveillance tactics against Britney Spears. His revelations helped lead to the dissolution of the controversial Britney Spears conservatorship and sparked a wider debate about the potential abuses of conservatorships more broadly. Read more about Mr. Vlasov here.
- Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen – She is the former Facebook data scientist who spoke out against what she sees as the perilous path Facebook has taken in broadening the reach of its social media empire. Through her highly orchestrated and sophisticated media push and her multiple appearances before legislators and regulators in the U.S. and Europe, she has single-handedly shined a spotlight on the social media giant that may dramatically change how the company conducts its business going forward. Read more about Ms. Haugen here.
- Pinterest Whistleblower Ifeoma Ozoma – She is the former Pinterest Public Policy and Social Impact Manager who exposed the company’s internal employee practices that sparked a larger conversation about how tech companies treat their workers. She also worked to create California’s landmark Silenced No More legislation, which protects whistleblowers who break NDAs to report workplace discrimination and mistreatment based on race, age, and other characteristics. Read more about Ms. Ozoma here.
- Catholic Church Whistleblower Phil Saviano – He is one of the first survivors to blow the whistle on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and the Church’s efforts to hide it. He also was the Boston Globe’s key source for its 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning article series, later portrayed in the 2015 Academy Award-winning film Spotlight. He passed away last month at age 69. Read more about Mr. Saviano here.
- NSA Intelligence Whistleblower Reality Winner – She is the former military contractor who shared with the public a top-secret NSA intelligence report about Russia’s attempt to infiltrate the 2016 U.S. Presidential election process. For this act, she was sentenced to more than five years in prison for violating the Espionage Act, the longest ever for an unauthorized release of government information to the media. She was recently released after serving three years of her sentence, and her journey has caused many to call for legislative changes to better protect intelligence whistleblowers like Winner. Read more about Ms. Winner here.
- Pentagon Papers Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and the GroundTruth Project – He is the former Marine and military analyst for the RAND Corporation who fifty years ago released the so-called Pentagon Papers, a top-secret history of the country’s military involvement in Southeast Asia that helped galvanize the Vietnam anti-war movement. To mark this special anniversary, the GroundTruth Project organized a year-long public history project with UMass Amherst on the life and legacy of Ellsberg. It is a legacy that continues with Ellsberg’s recent release of another classified report detailing how startlingly close the U.S. came to starting a nuclear war with China in 1958. Read more about Mr. Ellsberg and the GroundTruth Project here.