Workers at ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) have apparently publicly protested against company following the news that senior executive Daniel Gericke will jointly pay a $1.6 million fine (opens in new tab) to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for his involvement in a suspected spying campaign.
Gericke is part of the three former US intelligence operatives that have been charged by the DoJ for their role in Project Raven (opens in new tab), which involved the creation of spying tools for the UAE.
"To find out such news of the people we work closely with everyday through an online article was absolutely distasteful. Why weren't we given a heads up? Isn't transparency and respect our core values?" one employee posted during an internal chat meeting between the management and employees, according to Vice.
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The trio have agreed not to contest the charges and pay the imposed fine, and accept any accompanying sanctions.
Eroded consumer trust
According to reports, ExpressVPN employees asked management several questions about Gericke, his employment history, and how his continued association will affect the company's perception in the cybersecurity (opens in new tab) industry.
"This episode has eroded consumer's trust in our brand, regardless of the facts. How do we intend to rebuild our reputation?" wrote another employee on the chat board according to Reuters (opens in new tab).
Following the public disclosure (opens in new tab) of Gericke’s role as a mercenary hacker, former NSA whistleblower and privacy advocate Edward Snowden took to Twitter (opens in new tab) to ask users to stop using (opens in new tab) the popular VPN (opens in new tab) service.
Despite receiving flak from all quarters, ExpressVPN continues to stand by its Chief Information Office (CIO) and has issued a statement (opens in new tab) in his support, adding that while they “value Daniel’s expertise and how it has helped us to protect customers, we do not condone Project Raven.”
In addition to several other employees asking questions about the implications of DoJ’s action against Gericke on ExpressVPN’s balance sheet, there were several who were trying to wrap their heads around the company’s acquisition (opens in new tab) by security firm Kape, earlier this month.
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Via Vice (opens in new tab)