TalTech warned new superiors against whistleblower

Keegan McBride visiting Faroe Islands in November.
Keegan McBride visiting Faroe Islands in November. Source: Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance.

Heads of TalTech whistleblower Keegan McBride at his new position with the university's software development department received a warning concerning the junior research fellow, daily Postimees reports.

"I was told to be cautious of McBride. That here's a man who's willing to blow the whistle. And that we should not entrust him with secret and sensitive information," the institute's director Jaan Penjam said.

He added that it remained unclear what kind of sensitive information should be kept from McBride. It is the first time Penjam had such a conversation as no warnings have accompanied other employees.

The "warning" was issued by Henri Schasmin, an information security specialist from the rector's office, just weeks after the scandal.

The head of the software development institute does not plan to make a fuss over the incident or treat McBride differently. Penjam only said he would like to believe the IT security specialist came to warn him out of his own stupidity as opposed to being ordered to.

Repeated requests for information by employees of the software development department were eventually answered by the rector's office when it wrote that TalTech has notified the Estonian Data Protection Inspectorate (AKI) of the information leak "incident" at its Ragnar Nurkse institute.

Keegan McBride became a whistleblower in August when he told Estonian daily Postimees how employees of TalTech's Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance were paid for research they did not participate in as part of a European Commission-funded project. This was five months after McBride took the same information to TalTech Rector Jaak Aaviksoo.

Detailed OpenGovIntelligence project reports at Postimees' disposal revealed that while all of the research done within the framework of the project was done by just four researchers earning lower hourly pay, the workload was artificially inflated before the European Commission, and money was also paid to people who did not participate in the project.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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