This year we’ve asked you a lot of questions covering a broad range of subjects. Is there anything we can learn about 2016 from looking back at what questions we thought were important to ask?
We spent many weeks considering the implications of the privatization of many public services we count on, including emergency services, prison services, and school buses. We’ve also looked at the close relationship between public officials and private companies.
We looked at tech news, including the privacy implications of Microsoft’s purchase of Linkedin, whether the FBI should help local law enforcement hack phones, the future of self-driving cars and Airbnb, and President Obama’s cybersecurity regime. We delved deep into the role technology has in controlling our information, examining the implications of curated trending news stories, the Facebook bubbles of progressives and conservatives, and the rampant fake news problem.
We’ve talked about how legal regimes affect people’s health, including the patent system for medications and FDA regulation of protein shakes. We’ve asked about how to define the line between really bad medical care and fraudulent care.
We’ve talked a lot, of course, about corporate crimes: the right punishments, whether those punishments serve as deterrents, and whether those punishments lead to regulatory change. We’ve also looked at whether new regulations can force an industry to change its ways. Alternatively, we’ve asked about whether supposed regulatory agencies can be the cause of fraud themselves or what happens when government policy priorities interact with corporate failures . We’ve asked whether the government should do more to change the incentives to commit crimes. And we’ve looked at government efforts to curb corruption.
And we’ve asked about the protections for corporations when they do the right thing and blow the whistle.
We, like everyone else, were unable to ignore the 2016 election. We asked you whether politicians’ finances should be publically available, such passing legislation to require congresspeople to disclose their tax returns. We asked you to speculate about who gave the Donald Trump tax return to the press, and whether Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns himself was to avoid a whistleblower. We also asked whether U.S. voting machines were vulnerable to hackers.
Of course we’ve talked a lot about whistleblowers. We’ve looked at protections for whistleblowers: when they report to the media, when they potentially endanger their workplace, and when they work for the U.N. We looked at the landmark Supreme Court decision, Universal Health Care v. Escobar, which will help define which whistleblower suits go forward in the coming years. We’ve talked about what makes a whistleblower, including whether U.S. whistleblowers are fundamentally different than their overseas brethren. We’ve also talked about the appropriate punishment when a whistleblower violates U.S. laws.
Or is it enough to just focus on our last question—was it the worst year ever?
What do you think? Do these questions help sum up the important stories of 2016? Tell us what you think and vote below!
* * *If you would like more information or would like to speak to a member of Constantine Cannon’s whistleblower lawyer team, please click here.