Leigh Honeywell on Online Harassment and How to Protect YourselfFeb 15, 2021
Leigh Honeywell wants to curb online harassment by helping companies protect their employees in a balancing act at the nexus of privacy and security.
"Some of the recent research has said that, in 2019, 28% of Americans experienced one or more of the severe types of online harassment, like cyber stalking, threats of violence, sexual harassment, and persistent harassment," Leigh said on the latest Follow the White Rabbit podcast. "there really is a role for employers to protect their employees who face [this abuse] in the course of their work."
To address the issue, back in 2018, Leigh founded Tall Poppy -- a company that combines proactive security training, threat monitoring, and individual incident response to safeguard employees against online abuse.
Leigh, who has worked at Symantec, Microsoft, Salesforce, Slack, and the ACLU's project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology, is well-versed in the technological concerns surrounding online torment.
"Online harassment-- at least the things that you as an individual can do [to protect yourself] -- really sits at this nexus of the security and privacy puzzle," she said.
Protecting an employee's privacy and maximizing security is in an employer's best interest. Feeling safe is essential to productivity in the workplace. Those who suffer online harassment are more likely to miss work and be distracted or anxious, hurting their work's quality. Employees with outward-facing roles such as selling, publishing, or building anything online, are vulnerable to these kinds of attacks.
"There is actually this alignment of incentives between employers and the employees that they are asking to be people in public," Leigh said. Employees want to feel protected, and employers want to maximize productivity with employee well-being.
At Tall Poppy, Leigh aims to create risk mitigation to "this new type of, unfortunately very common, risk to employees." Like identity theft or health insurance, online harassment safeguards improve an employee's trust in their employer. As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, and the line between the 'real' and 'online' world blurs, it is important to solve the problem of online harassment.
To hear more about Leigh's battle against online harassment, and how to protect yourself, follow us down the rabbit hole. Listen to the conversation here or on your favorite streaming service.