[Owasp-board] OWASP Whistleblower Policy Updates

Martin Knobloch martin.knobloch at owasp.org
Thu Nov 13 09:38:56 UTC 2014


Andrew, Josh,

I like your comments Andrew and am definitely in favor of a soon as
possible investigation and closing of matters. Unfortunately, it is as Josh
says, as volunteer I do not have the resources to guarantee this.
On the other hand, some issues are just not possible to solve inside the
suggested time limit of 90 days. Reasons for that can be dependencies like
court procedures etc. Of course, luckily we can consider those as
exceptions to the rule.

So, for the first point, if a 90 day closure is wanted, I would need to
occasionally drop assignments in order to full-fill this expectations. Of
course, thereby I would loos income. With other words, on a volunteer-base
this is not possible.

One thing, this has been discussed earlier, there would also be the option
of seeing people in person in order to solve matters. Downside would be
(next to loosing assignments as said before)  travel expenses.
I would be, to a certain extend and only if there is a clear benefit, be
willing to travel. But is the board okay with the additional expenses?
Of course, there is still the matter of lost of income.

Cheers,
-martin

On Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 8:19 AM, Andrew van der Stock <vanderaj at owasp.org>
wrote:

> Actually thinking more about whistleblower policies, I know that my soon
> to be ex-employer not only has confidentiality around this but also an
> anonymous tip off box so as to encourage free and frank disclosure of
> difficult topics. Sunshine is the best disinfectant is as the saying goes,
> and I don't mind sunshine being let in.
>
> Considering the desired outcomes of blowing the whistle is to provide tip
> offs about poor behavior or not so nice activities and possibly about those
> who wield some power within the organisation, I think confidentiality is
> actually important to provide a layer of protection for those willing to
> put in a complaint. So please ignore me on confidentiality.
>
> As you say, I think as long as the process is demonstrably fair and
> balanced, and the results communicated publicly, that is in my view
> sufficient. Let's not worry about it.
>
> thanks,
> Andrew
>
> On Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 4:39 PM, Josh Sokol <josh.sokol at owasp.org> wrote:
>
>> The confidentiality piece is an interesting one and I feel like it really
>> becomes a situational thing.  My biggest concern is that when initially
>> disclosed, an accusation feels more like an attack to the accused, but
>> without the ability to defend oneself.  On the other end, you have people
>> who feel like a public ruling is a violation of our code of ethics because
>> it can "injure and impugn" their professional reputation.  That said, we
>> are an open organization and having a truly transparent process fits that
>> mold.  But then again, what about a more personal situation involving
>> sexual harassment or similar?  Publicly disclosing that could lead to
>> unwanted embarrassment.  I'll be the first one to say that I don't have a
>> good answer here and would be willing to listen if someone feels
>> passionately about it one way or the other.
>>
>> I like the general idea of imposing a time limit for the reasons you
>> mentioned.  My concern is that our Compliance Officer is only one person
>> and can be handling multiple issues at one time.  We also have to keep in
>> mind that they are 100% volunteer in this capacity and putting time
>> constraints on them could be very stressful and lead to a less effective
>> investigation in order to fit it in the timeframe.  I'm not sure how much
>> sense it would make to time-box this.
>>
>> Yes, you are right.  Independence, not neutrality, is really the more
>> fitting word here.  I've changed it.  Thanks for your feedback.  I love
>> your passion Andrew!
>>
>> ~josh
>>
>> On Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 10:57 PM, Andrew van der Stock <
>> vanderaj at owasp.org> wrote:
>>
>>> The policy is big on keeping things confidential. Now I do think this
>>> can be helpful to diffuse hot tempers, but is it actually necessary? I am
>>> happy if this is a policy that is adopted from a formal DRP or
>>> whistleblowers policy, and that's the norm for this type of policy.
>>>
>>> Time limits. It always seems like Australia is a breeding ground for
>>> bush lawyers, but one of the issues we had over the last three years is a
>>> sports doping scandal. The regulator took a very long time to come to a
>>> conclusion. Should the policy put in guidelines for timely conclusions? I
>>> would like to see all investigations investigated and finalised within 90
>>> days to be fair on the person being investigated as well as provide a timly
>>> outcome for those whose complaints are upheld. Is this possible and still
>>> maintain quality of results?
>>>
>>> Lastly, I think "neutrality" is a good goal, but independence is the
>>> word I think you mean when the policy says "neutral". The compliance
>>> officer not only needs to be independent, so as to enable investigations
>>> where Foundation or Board members are the complainants or the subject of an
>>> investigation, but also they need to be strong enough to resist efforts to
>>> compromise their independence, such as limiting scope of investigations
>>> (such as restricting the time or the nature of the complaint). I strongly
>>> feel that the Compliance Officer should be able to set their own terms of
>>> reference and run the complaints process without interference.
>>>
>>> Andrew
>>>
>>> On Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 3:03 PM, Josh Sokol <josh.sokol at owasp.org>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> 1. The compliant officers role as neutral conciliator / mediator
>>>>> It might be people hesitate in filing an official complaint, as this
>>>>> is a harsh measure, and reaching out to the compliant officer as neutral
>>>>> party in an not yet escalated conflict.
>>>>> The current policy does not describe this possibility, it comes close
>>>>> to "IV. Commitment to Peaceful Conflict Resolution", but without
>>>>> filing an official compliant.
>>>>> This could be in chapter "IX. Compliance Officer".
>>>>> Q: is this part of the compliant officers role?
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I *think* what you're talking about is under section III. Initiating an
>>>> Informal Complaint.  The ED, Board, and Compliance Officer are all
>>>> identified in this paragraph as possible contacts for informal complaints.
>>>>
>>>> 2. Early notification of the compliant officer in case of serious
>>>>> complaints.
>>>>> As reason history has shown actions of investigation should been
>>>>> handed to the investigation soon possible. It might not be part of the
>>>>> Whistelblower Policy, but can we find an agreement any serious complaints
>>>>> the board or a board member has received, the Compliant Officer should be
>>>>> notified about early, before escalation!
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I agree that the Board needs to work with the Compliance Officer to
>>>> discuss serious complaints as early as possible.  I think that what you are
>>>> referring to here is basically the difference between an informal and a
>>>> formal complaint.  At the stage of an informal complaint, the goal is to
>>>> resolve the conflict with those that the conflict involves.  I have no
>>>> argument either for or against involving the Compliance Officer at this
>>>> stage.  But once we get to the formal complaint stage, then I think that
>>>> the Compliance Officer becomes the key player in the conflict resolution
>>>> process.
>>>>
>>>> In general, I think the role, responsibility of the Compliance Officer
>>>>> should be expressed in more clearly. As the independence of the board.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Maybe you could provide an example wording for what you would like to
>>>> see changed here?  This is effectively what I was going with under section
>>>> IX when I say "The Compliance Officer is empowered to conduct their
>>>> investigations in isolation of the Board in order to maintain neutrality,
>>>> but are free to involve members of the Board as necessary.  It is solely
>>>> the Compliance Officer’s charge to determine whether or not a complaint can
>>>> be considered valid for investigation though any individual may submit a
>>>> complaint as noted above."
>>>>
>>>> ~josh
>>>>
>>>> On Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 5:07 PM, Martin Knobloch <
>>>> martin.knobloch at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Josh, et all,
>>>>>
>>>>> Two questions from my side as current developments raised this.
>>>>>
>>>>> 1. The compliant officers role as neutral conciliator / mediator
>>>>> It might be people hesitate in filing an official complaint, as this
>>>>> is a harsh measure, and reaching out to the compliant officer as neutral
>>>>> party in an not yet escalated conflict.
>>>>> The current policy does not describe this possibility, it comes close
>>>>> to "IV. Commitment to Peaceful Conflict Resolution", but without
>>>>> filing an official compliant.
>>>>> This could be in chapter "IX. Compliance Officer".
>>>>> Q: is this part of the compliant officers role?
>>>>>
>>>>> 2. Early notification of the compliant officer in case of serious
>>>>> complaints.
>>>>> As reason history has shown actions of investigation should been
>>>>> handed to the investigation soon possible. It might not be part of the
>>>>> Whistelblower Policy, but can we find an agreement any serious complaints
>>>>> the board or a board member has received, the Compliant Officer should be
>>>>> notified about early, before escalation!
>>>>>
>>>>> In general, I think the role, responsibility of the Compliance Officer
>>>>> should be expressed in more clearly. As the independence of the board.
>>>>>
>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>> -martin
>>>>>
>>>>> On Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 7:40 PM, Josh Sokol <josh.sokol at owasp.org>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Based on the feedback I received from Martin, I made a few changes to
>>>>>> the Whistleblower policy that I had previously sent out.  Please review
>>>>>> when you have a chance and feel free to provide feedback either via comment
>>>>>> or by responding back to this e-mail.  Here is the link:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> https://docs.google.com/a/owasp.org/document/d/1OwoHQtNGWxpr2qgSGbTqCRJJYLayh5d8zvzxoh2Cnqk/edit
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Thanks!
>>>>>>
>>>>>> ~josh
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>
>
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