Leaked Docs Allege Google Fired Dozens Of Employees In 2020 For Violating Data Privacy Protocols
Data misuse and abuse of company tools is a prevalent problem in the tech industry, as we saw when an Apple tech posted a customer’s explicit images on Facebook. However, this problem is not relegated to people lower in the food chain as Google fired dozens of employees between 2018 and 2020 for abusing their level of access to customer and company data.
Yesterday, Motherboard, got its hands on an internal Google document that provided “concrete figures on an often delicate part of a tech giant's operations: investigations into how the company's own employees leverage their positions to steal, leak, or abuse data they may have access to.” The document noted that Google fired 36 employees in 2020 for security-related issues.
However, 86% of security-related allegations entail mishandling of confidential internal information, akin to this leak, in fact. 10% of 2020’s allegations surrounded, “misuse of systems, which can include accessing user or employee data in violation of Google's own policies, helping others to access that data, or modifying or deleting user or employee data, according to the document.”
Thankfully, this percentage is down from 2019’s 13%, but terminations regarding security-related allegations are up in the past three years. A spokesperson for Google explained that the issues at hand “mostly relate to inappropriate access to, or misuse of, proprietary and sensitive corporate information or IP." Furthermore, user data is tightly restricted to employees “through a number of industry leading safeguards, including: limiting access to user data to necessary individuals, requiring a justification to access such data, multi-stage review before access is granted to sensitive data, and monitoring for access anomalies and violations.”
Despite these safeguards and monthly trainings, it seems Google, and other companies with likely similar protocols, are not going to be able to weed out all the bad apples.