19 May 2015
Snowdon-style Whistleblowing Could Become Legal in France
France’s National Assembly has created an amendment that will legalise intelligence employees leaking information in order to blow the whistle on authorities abusing their power.
The author of the amendment, Jean-Jacques Urvoas, said, “The Snowdon case has demonstrated the need to create conditions so that agents can denounce abuses by the intelligence services.”
Edward Snowdon leaked classified documents from the American National Security Agency to the media, revealing global surveillance programs. Then, later in 2013, US federal prosecutors pressed him with criminal charges. He sought temporary asylum in Russia before getting a three-year Russian residency permit in 2014.
If Snowdon were a French citizen he might’ve remained a free man in his own country. The National Assembly’s amendment would create the conditions where a whistleblower could expose abuse of power. By creating a new authority that examines leaked documents from intelligence services if declassified by a governmental commission, whistleblowers needn’t send sensitive information direct to the media in order to expose abuse of power.
There are different laws surrounding whistleblowing in different countries. If you’re a UK citizen and considering becoming a whistleblower you should seek legal advice from a specialist lawyer. They can help you disclose the information in the correct manner and ensure your employment rights are protected in Great Britain.
Whistleblowing laws in this country require that particular information is disclosed to the right people in the right way for you to benefit from protection. The risk is that you might otherwise legitimately be penalised for the manner in which you blow the whistle – particularly in cases involving highly confidential or sensitive information.
It is worth taking advice, and assistance, to get some peace of mind.
Samantha Mangwana is a Principal Employment Lawyer at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
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