Characteristics of a Whistleblower
One of the key characteristics of a whistleblower is the strong upholding of utilitarian ethics. Whistleblowers are seldom interested in protecting the partisan interests of the minority in their organizations (Miceli, Near, & Dworkin, 2013). They are normally inclined toward advocating for decisions that secure the goals of the majority of the affiliates of the organization. Whistleblowers are also rigid in their beliefs and values (Johnson, 2003). Their attitude toward change is that it should only be applied if it is in the best interest of the internal and external stakeholders of the associated organization. Whistleblowers are also always keen to act according to the code of ethics that governs their professions, and they are keen on observing the behavior of other people in their organizations (Vanderkerckhove, 2006). Most whistleblowers are well educated and acquainted with their responsibility to ensure other people in the organization are held accountable for their negligence and fraudulent conduct.
When the FBI called upon Apple Inc. to disable security measures on the phone of one of the suspects of the San Bernardino shooters, the company refused to meet this demand because of the security implications it would bypass. The FBI reported that they could not retrieve the associated messages from the phone without the help of the developers of the phone. However, Edward Snowden, the renowned whistleblower, revealed that the FBI was not being entirely truthful, and there was a possibility that the agency had already retrieved the messages from the phone. Snowden also provided a detailed procedure developed by a technology researcher who proved that there are ways of getting around the security system mounted by Apple (Miller, 2016). The FBI could have already retrieved the relevant information and was hiding it from the public. According to the whistleblower, the FBI was not being truthful when it told the court that Apple has the exclusive means of manipulating the security measure in the phone. Snowden was justified in whistleblowing about Apple and the FBI because the public needs to know that the FBI can bypass almost every security measure in technological devices even without the help of the developers.
The process of retrieving evidence from a phone does not require the provider to give access to tools by means of which it becomes possible to bypass the security measures installed in the phones. Apple was also wrong in claiming that the security measure was absolutely foolproof. According to the evidence provided by the whistleblower, technology researchers have already developed easy ways of bypassing the associated security measures. The public should be acquainted with the fact that despite Apple claiming that the security measures in its mobile phones are 100% efficient, evidence proves otherwise.
Protection under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
The Sarbanes and Oxley Act was enacted in 2002 following the Enron bankruptcy case to provide protection for whistleblowers. Under this Act, Snowden should be protected against any form of penalties by his employer for whistleblowing (The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 2016). The Act also gives whistleblowers a chance to reveal the evidence anonymously as said in Section 301 of the Act (Sarbanes Oxley Act Section 301, 2016). The information stolen by the whistleblower is important to the greater society because it highlights the inefficiency demonstrated by the FBI, and it also proves that Apple has been lying to its customers about the effectiveness of the security measures of the mobile phones.
Johnson, R. A. (2003). Whistleblowing: When it Works-and why. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Miceli, M. P., Near, J. P., & Dworkin, T. M. (2013). Whistle-blowing in organizations. Abingdon: Psychology Press.
Miller, D. (2016). Apple v FBI: Edward Snowden rubbishes claims intelligence agency can’t unlock an iPhone. Web.
Sarbanes Oxley Act Section 301. (2016). Web.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act. (2016). Web.
Vanderkerckhove, W. (2006). Whistleblowing and Organizational Social Responsibility: A Global Assessment. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.