View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
January 12, 2017

Microsoft ex-staffers sue after developing PTSD

Microsoft’s online safety team works on removing and reporting illegal images.

By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft has been sued by two of its former employees who claim to have suffered PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) after watching child porn as part of their content monitoring job.

Henry Soto and Greg Blauert, the plaintiffs, worked for Microsoft’s online safety team which focuses on complying with 2008 federal legislation that requires technology firms to report child pornography and other crimes to the authorities.

The online safety team was established to review potentially illegal depictions, videos and written materials and to decide whether to remove them and/or to report them to law enforcement.

Soto and Blauert claim that the role required them to view videos and photos of murder, child abuse, violent adult pornography and bestiality.

In the lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court, the employees allege that members of Microsoft’s Online Safety Team had God-like status and could literally view any customer’s communications at any time.

The lawsuit says both men’s efforts were instrumental in saving children’s lives and ptsd at microsoftproviding evidence for successful prosecutions.

According to the complaint, Soto says he was reassigned to the online safety team for which he did not opt.

Content from our partners
Scan and deliver
GenAI cybersecurity: "A super-human analyst, with a brain the size of a planet."
Cloud, AI, and cyber security – highlights from DTX Manchester

The complaint alleges that Microsoft did little to warn or prepare them about the likely dangerous impact of reviewing the depictions.

In a statement, a Microsoft spokeswoman said the company disagreed with the plaintiffs’ claims, saying that the company offers a wellness programme.

The company said: “Microsoft takes seriously its responsibility to remove and report imagery of child sexual exploitation and abuse being shared on its services, as well as the health and resiliency of the employees who do this important work.”

The company noted that the work at the online safety team is difficult, but critically important to a safer and more trusted internet.

“The health and safety of our employees who do this difficult work is a top priority.”

Topics in this article : ,
Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.