February 14 Tuesday

The International Law of Whistleblowers Conference

  • Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 10:00AM - 3:00PM
  • Room 121, Room 128, Faculty Lounge
  • Open To The Public
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This conference will bring together academics and practitioners to discuss the legal protections for whistleblowers, their role in checking executive action, and public perceptions surrounding whistleblowers and its effect on the public interest defense.

10:00 - 11:30 am:   "Whistleblowers’ Shields: Anonymity and Asylum"  SLB 121

Anonymity and asylum can shield whistleblowers from state retaliation. But implementing them raises technical and legal problems. First, the effectiveness of online anonymity depends on data security and the scope of state surveillance. Second, the current asylum framework was not designed to accommodate the unique needs of whistleblowers.

  • Cannelle Lavite, PhD Candidate, University of Bremen; Project Manager, Blueprint for Free Speech (moderator)
  • Susan Mc Gregor, Assistant Director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism; Assistant Professor, Columbia Journalism School 
  • Anna Myers, Director, Whistleblowing International Network
  • Patrick Weil, Visiting Professor of Law, Oscar M. Ruebhausen Distinguished Senior Fellow, and Senior Research Scholar in Law, Yale Law School

12:00 - 1:30 pm: “Whistleblowers as a Check on the Executive: A Discussion with Emily Bazelon and Bob Woodward”  SLB 128

  • Bob Woodward, Current Associate Editor, Washington Post; Visiting Lecturer, Yale University 
  • Emily Bazelon, Senior Research Scholar in Law, Yale Law School ; Staff Writer, New York Times Magazine

1:30 - 3:00 pm: "The Public Perception and the Public Interest Defense"  SLB Faculty Lounge

When there is no possibility of remaining anonymous or applying for asylum, whistleblowers often face criminal prosecution. News organizations like Wikileaks have changed public perceptions about whistleblowers, increasing incentives for states to prosecute them.  Many civil society organizations and experts have stressed on the need to establish a “public interest” defense, which would shield whistleblowers from criminal liability when the public interest in the disclosed information outweighs the public interest in prosecution. Panelists will consider whether and how to implement this defense.

  • Jean-Philippe Foegle, Resident Fellow, Information Society Project; PhD candidate and Lecturer in Law, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre (moderator)
  • Sandra Coliver, Senior Legal Counsel, Open Society Justice Initiative 
  • Tom Devine, Legal Director, Government Accountability Project
  • Patrick McCurdy, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of Ottawa

Sponsoring Organization(s)