Free advice for future whistleblowers

John Tye is a former State Department employee who blew the whistle on some NSA spying programs in 2014; three years later, he founded a Whistleblower Aid, a nonprofit that provides legal consultation and representation for other people who might want to blow some whistles of their own. His clients include Frances Haugen, the recent Facebook whistleblower.

Tye recently spoke with The Boston Globe about his business, and even offered some free basic advice for would-be whistleblowers. While most of it is basic InfoSec guidance, it might be helpful for some people in context.

The first step, Tye said, before talking to anyone or collecting any documents, is making sure your communications are secure. Download and use Signal, an encrypted phone messaging application, for low-stakes conversations. Use Tor, an encrypted web browser, and SecureDrop for highly sensitive matters.

"Never use e-mail," he said.

After getting communications in order, the next step is simple. "Talk first to a lawyer," he said. "Don't talk to your boss, don't talk to your friends, don't talk to a journalist … An [expert] lawyer should have some knowledge about this area … and they can protect your communications."

So you want to be a whistleblower? [Pranshu Verma / Boston Globe]

Image: Public Domain via PixaBay