Complex Made Simple

Is whistleblowing becoming a business trend to watch out for?

What do Tesla, Facebook, and the United States have in common?

Whistleblowers, or as we like to call it here at AMEinfo the new trend in business.

We just got out of months-long debates on how Facebook let Cambridge Analytica (CA) penetrate data it shouldn’t have, thanks to Christopher Wylie, a former employee at CA.

Lessons learned? Nope, companies still try to hide their indecencies.

Related: Apple fans lash out after company admits it tampered with older iphone models 

Tesla, a victim of this new trend?

Now, a former Tesla employee filed a whistleblower tip to the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) claiming that the company made misstatements and omissions to investors.

Martin Tripp, a process engineering technician who left Tesla on June 19 and was sued by the company shortly afterward. He accused the car company of inflating weekly Model 3 production figures by as much as 44%, according to CNBC.

Tesla accused Tripp in a complaint last month of writing a computer program that accesses proprietary information and sends material to three unknown entities while also attempting to cover his tracks after he was denied a promotion.

Stuart Meissner, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan and assistant of The New York state attorney general, said he believes Tesla’s lawsuit against Tripp was part of a media campaign to “silence him.”

Tripp told the SEC that Tesla had installed batteries with holes punctured in them, placed battery cells too close to one another and did not affix them properly causing them to combust occasionally.

The National Transportation Safety Board is looking into the flammability of lithium-ion batteries for the electric cars, including several fires involving crashed Teslas.

Whistle-blowers are entitled to payouts if they voluntarily provide the SEC with unique information that leads to a successful enforcement action, according to their official website.

This compensation can range from 10% to 30% of the money collected in any case that leads to a penalty of at least $1 million.

Read: What Aramco IPO? It may never happen, and here’s why

Whistle-blowing that gets you in hot waters

Edward Snowden, a whistleblower that is considered a hero on the internet and is shunned by the US government, sought political asylum in many countries but Russia granted his appeal for protection.

Snowden, in 2012 and according to multiple sources such as CNBC, Forbes and others, uncovered something shocking: Every camera on your mobile or computer device, anywhere around the world, was used by the US National Security Agency to spy on you. He also uncovered a bunch of confidential files that were very disturbing and led to his being labeled as a traitor and to his exile.

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Important cases from recent history

Towards the end of the Vietnam war, a whistleblower by the name of Daniel Ellsberg came forth to reveal things that also shocked the world.

If you’ve seen “The Post” by Steven Spielberg, you’d know how Nixon, the US president at the time, started an all-out war with the press to silence them from revealing that the US has been losing the war for years, not to mention other secrets that were published along the top-secret Pentagon Papers, according to The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Read: In an electric Tesla-driven age, what’s fuelling the auto sector?

Who really started the modern whistle-blowing trend?

Julien Paul Assange or more commonly known as the founder of Wikileaks was in immense investigations in late 2010 for publishing a series of leaks provided by Chelsea Manning, a former US army soldier.

These leaks included the Collateral Murder video in April 2010, which killed two Iraqi Reuters reporters, the Afghanistan war logs, which revealed information on the deaths of a large number of civilians previously unreported.

Following the 2010 leaks, the federal government of the United States launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks and asked allied nations for assistance.

Wikileaks’ Paradise Papers in late 2017 became a set of 13.4 million confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investments and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and a network of more than 380 journalists.

The whistle-blowing trend is only to continue as the internet becomes more accessible and people start taking actions to prevent their countries, companies, and powerful leaders from making mistakes that shouldn’t otherwise happen.