Men Monitoring Illegal Activity Online Sue Microsoft For PTSD Treatment

Posted: Jan 12 2017, 3:17pm CST | by , in News | Latest Business News

 

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Men Monitoring Illegal Activity Online Sue Microsoft for PTSD Treatment
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Two former Microsoft employees who were in charge of monitoring the internet for things like child pornography and other criminal videos and material have filed a lawsuit against the company, per The Daily Beast, alleging that they were not given adequate psychological support to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

The two employees, Henry Soto and Greg Blauert, were key parts of Microsoft’s Online Safety Team where they were responsible for monitoring material that had been flagged as illegal. Per the lawsuit, Soto's job involved watching material that included “horrible brutality, murder, indescribable sexual assaults,” and other content “designed to entertain the most twisted and sick-minded people in the world.” Blauert, in particular, had to  “review thousands of images of child pornography, adult pornography and bestiality that graphically depicted the violence and depravity of the perpetrators,” according to the complaint.

Both men say that they have suffered "vicarious trauma" and other symptoms associated with PTSD, including anxiety, hallucinations, and nightmares. When they complained to Microsoft, the case alleges, they were directed to a "Wellness Program" but there was not a therapist included in that program. Instead, they were told to take more 'smoke breaks' and walks to deal with the fallout. Blauert was told to play more video games.

A Microsoft spokesperson said that the company “disagrees” with the claims and that it “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.”

This person also said that Microsoft uses technology to “reduce the realism of the imagery” and that it limits how much time someone can spend monitoring content.  The Online Safety Team has to review the material flagged by algorithms or reported to them to confirm whether it is legal or illegal before passing it along to the appropriate party.

The lawsuit is seeking damages for both men and hopes to change the way Microsoft protects the mental health of workers. It also hopes that companies like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter will do the same thing.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.

 

 

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