Google reportedly fired dozens of staff members between 2018 to 2020, over allegations of data misuse on their part. A leaked document claims that the company had become aware of the employees “abusing their to the company’s tools or data,” to get their hands on the personal information of Google’s users and even other employees.
The Game Of Steal, Leak, Abuse
The leaked document has been obtained by Motherboard, and focusses on how employees may “steal, leak, or abuse” data by misusing their access to the same. It also outlines how such instances are a common occurrence in tech firms, especially the industry giants, from Facebook and MySpace, to Snapchat. As per the report, some 26 staff members were fired by Google for issues related to security, in 2020 alone. And out of these, around 86% comprised of mishandling of personal and sensitive information.
Further, 10% of these allegations were concerned with the misuse of systems to gain access to data from employees or users. At the same time, the document also throws light on how the number of people fired due to this reason in 2020 was less than that in 2019, when 13% of the total number of allegations against 26 people had something to do with system abuse. As of 2018, a total of 18 people were fired on grounds of threat to security of individuals. A spokesperson for the company has also agreed to the fact that most of these instances were linked, in one way or another, to the misuse or abuse of “proprietary or sensitive corporate information or IP.”
User Security Is A Priority
The spokesperson has also added that such actions are in clear contravention of Google’s policies, which place a number of safeguards (including justification) on sensitive data, in a bid to restrict employee access. In fact, staff members are duly trained by the company so as to make them responsible and accountable for protecting the data. Investigations and proves are given due importance in case disputes arise, and the prime focus in such cases is on taking a “corrective action,” which can include termination.
Despite numerous concerns over Google’s collection and use of data from users, the spokesperson further says that the company remains ever transparent to all its consumers, at least when it comes to the number of such probes, as well as their outcomes, all the while treating the security of its user base spanning millions, as a top priority.