Beatrice Edwards, Executive Director of Government Accountability Project, talks on Whistleblowers: Regulators of Last Resort.
Beatrice Edwards, Executive Director of Government Accountability Project, provided us with a compelling symposium presentation last night as she spoke on the role of whistleblowers in protecting citizens’ basic rights. Dr. Edwards discussed the arguments presented in her recent book, The Rise of the American Corporate Security State: Six Reasons to be Afraid. She highlighted two major events from the twenty first century that have transformed the relationship between government surveillance and citizens’ rights: the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the financial crisis beginning in 2008. She gave us fascinating insight into the stories of whistleblowers who tried to draw attention to fraud and other concerns, and who were severely thwarted in their efforts or ignored e.g. Thomas Drake and Eileen Foster. She raised concerns about the gathering of information and also about the interchange of information between private corporations and the intelligence community and argued for more protections for whistleblowers, in an environment that is currently only covered by a patchwork of (often weak/ineffective) laws. A lively question and answer session followed with a number of questions centering on the role of Edward Snowden and the balance to be found between classification for security concerns and constitutional protections.