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Emma Irwin, from Mozilla to Microsoft & Debian harassment rumors: the hidden report into Open Labs Hackerspace, Albania

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Jul 10, 2024,
updated Jul 10, 2024

Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship.

For six years, Chris Lamb & Debian lackies have been trying to cover up what really happened in Albania. More pieces of the puzzle were revealed in April 2024.

In serious organizations, these matters would have been resolved privately and a concise report would have been released to the public.

Chris Lamb started spreading smears about other developers and the real report was hidden away inside Mozilla. Here are some of the internal emails from Emma Irwin:

Emma Irwin / Mozilla admitted under-aged contributors were present

Therefore, they knew about it.

The email was sent on Friday the 13th.

Subject:        Re: Open Labs / Tirana issues
Date:   Fri, 13 Oct 2017 14:18:05 -0700
From:   Emma Irwin <>
To:     Daniel Pocock <>
CC:     Larissa Shapiro <>, Kristi Progri <>

No Kristi has not, I don't want to assume that she is comfortable doing that - it's up to each of you to decide what works best.
> The issue arises when other groups or businesses align themselves with > local Mozilla groups and seek to benefit from those contributors. I'm > not sure how to deal with that risk completely but there are probably > some things Mozilla could do in that area.
I have heard of similar complaints, I think sometimes there are things we cannot control - but Larissa might have insight from the legal side of things, whether we would get involved. Larissa?
On Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 2:12 PM, Daniel Pocock wrote:
On 13/10/17 23:01, Emma Irwin wrote: > Hi there, > > Thanks so much for this email. I know it's difficult to report these > types of incidents, especially when often people can make you feel like > you are doing something wrong - or encouraged that behavior. This isn't > an uncommon way to feel but know we are here to help ensure this type of > behavior isn't something you have to face in our community. > > We are building a process to accept reports of violations of the > Community Participation Guidelines, to investigate and together with > leadership at Mozilla, take steps to correct behavior or remove people > from the community. The process is triggered by firstfilling out this > form > > From there I will create a case number, and we will review and keep you > up to date in next steps. As I said we are just starting to build this > process, so appreciate your patience and feedback along the way. > > If you have any questions about the form, or anything else please do > reach out.
If Kristi has already filled out the form, can you link my feedback to the same case, or it is a separate case?
> I can comment on under-aged contributors - we do have those from time to > time, and usually on trips at least parents or chaperon are required. >
Having underage contributors is not an issue itself and I have no objection to that.
The issue arises when other groups or businesses align themselves with local Mozilla groups and seek to benefit from those contributors. I'm not sure how to deal with that risk completely but there are probably some things Mozilla could do in that area.

Mozilla deployed a HR investigator, Daniel Pocock was a witness

This is from another one of the emails that came out in April 2024.

Emma Irwin clearly identifies Elio Qoshi and Redon Skikuli as the source of the problem.

Chris Lamb started spreading smears about Pocock six months later as a retaliation.

Subject:        Re: Open Labs / Tirana issues
Date:   Wed, 20 Dec 2017 09:19:39 -0800
From:   Emma Irwin <>
To:     Daniel Pocock <>

Hi Daniel,
Would you be willing to talk to Marta (HR Investigator) and myself about Redon & Elio and your experiences and what you have witnessed?
Thank you
On Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 6:26 AM, Daniel Pocock <> wrote:
Hi all,
A brief update on this situation: I recently asked some questions about financial transparency in the Open Labs forum
I noticed that some of the people involved in troublesome behavior towards Kristi have very quickly banded together to question my credibility as a tactic to avoid answering the financial questions:
While this is quite low level when it comes to bullying, in this case it is public, it is written in English and it corroborates the patterns of offline behavior observed and reported by other people like Kristi.
The people involved in this are part of the Mozilla community:
and in this particular forum topic, Mozilla funding requested for the event (FOSSCamp) is a related issue

The emails from Emma Irwin and some of the emails from Larissa Shapiro too became public as part of WIPO administrative attacks in April 2024. The WIPO procedure has violated the privacy of everybody else in the harassment and abuse incidents.

Evidence in Open Labs forum deleted immediately after the emails were submitted to WIPO

After the emails were submitted to WIPO in April 2024, the entire Open Labs organization in Albania was shut down. Their Discourse forum was completely deleted and shut down. The links from the Emma Irwin evidence emails don't work any more.

Emma Irwin told us there is a report

Subject:        Re: Open Labs / Tirana issues
Date:   Tue, 16 Jan 2018 16:47:24 -0800
From:   Emma Irwin <>
To:     Daniel Pocock <>

Hi Daniel,
I am so sorry to bother you, I wanted to wrap up this report - and will do so next week. If you wanted to share your voice, I want to still offer you that chance, but completely respect if you have changed your mind. Either way thanks for reaching out as you did.

Emma Irwin moved to Microsoft

We can see that a lot of the problems in Debian coincide with Microsoft sponsorship in Brazil, 2019.

All the Albanian women were brought to Brazil and seated with Chris Lamb at the DebConf dinner.

Was this about a search for girlfriends or was this about covering up the problems with under-aged volunteers in Albania?

The woman sitting closest to Lamb was given an Outreachy internship and then a job at Wikimedia Italia. She got a visa for Italy.

The next woman at the table got a job at GNOME Foundation. When the emails from Larissa Shapiro and Emma Irwin were published during the WIPO process in April 2024, the GNOME Foundation edited the woman's bio to remove references to the Open Labs hackerspace: has an older bio for Emma Irwin:

Open Innovation Team, Community Development @Mozilla , Previously Participation Architect @Benetech #FOSS #OpenEd Web Dev, Mom above all other things.



Irwin was blogging on Medium.

Now she is blogging on Microsoft. A recent blog post was published on the topic 5 things we learned from sponsoring a sampling of our open source dependencies. The blog post doesn't mention how things went wrong with sponsorship money from other companies in Albania. We feel those lessons are equally valuable and the report about Albania needs to be made public, maybe even in the same blog.

Emma Irwin and Larissa Shapiro gave a number of talks together, for example Open Source Summit North America 2017, Time for Action - Innovating for D&I in Open Source Communities.

In 2021, Irwin recorded a podcast interview with Eric Berry, Justin Dorfman and Richard Littauer about her new role at Microsoft. It includes topics like Safety and the return of Dr Richard Stallman at the FSF.

In 2022, Irwin recorded a podcast interview with Julia Ferraioli for Open Source Stories.

Irwin's Github profile tells us more about her new role at Microsoft:

I’m currently working at my dream job: Open Source @ Microsoft

In the same Github profile Irwin asks the question:

Tell me about: your thoughts on openness in the times of AI

On the topic of openness, why won't Mozilla & Debian release the report about harassment and abuse in Albania?

Why are they covering up the real perpetrators?

Why are they spreading rumors about a volunteer who was there as a witness and offered support to the victims?

Larissa Brown Shapiro, Emma Irwin and other Mozilla women at Grace Hopper 2016 in Houston, Texas:

Larissa Shapiro, Emma Irwin, Semirah Dolan, Grace Hopper, Mozilla

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