Google fires 4 for access of internal documents



(tca/dpa) Google has terminated four employees for what the tech firm said were “repeated violations of our data security policies.”

All four had spoken out publicly against company initiatives including Google’s past work with government agencies.

One of the four, Rebecca Rivers, was one of two employees whose recent suspension by Google sparked a rally last week outside the company’s San Francisco office from colleagues, who demanded their reinstatement.

In a memo first obtained by Bloomberg News, the company said the four employees “were involved in systematic searches for other employees’ materials and work.

“This includes searching for, accessing, and distributing business information outside the scope of their jobs.”

The memo added that one of the fired employees subscribed to the calendars of workers on other teams “so that they received emails detailing the work and whereabouts of those employees.

This including personal matters such as 1:1s (one-on-one meetings), medical appointments and family activities – all without those employees’ knowledge or consent.”

At the Friday rally, Rivers said she never accessed any documents that were labeled “need to know,” nor did she share any documents with anyone who did not already have access.

Laurence Berland, a Google staffer suspended alongside Rivers, acknowledged viewing the calendars of people on different teams at Friday’s demonstration, but said such calendars were visible to all workers.

He said at the time that the suspensions were an attempt to stifle dissent inside the company.

“This isn’t really about me, or Rebecca, or any individual,” Berland said Friday.

“They are retaliating against us because they want to intimidate everyone who dares to disagree with leadership … They want us afraid, and they want us silent.”

Berland could not be immediately reached for comment.

After Rivers tweeted that she had been terminated, several former and current Google staffers, who have spoken out against the company hinted that protests would continue.

“This is craven retaliation, and I ask everyone who can to show up and support,” tweeted Meredith Whittaker, who helped organise a large walkout at Google in 2018 and left the company after saying she faced retaliation.

“More soon … ”

Google would not comment beyond confirming the authenticity of the staff memo.

Tensions between employees and executives at Google have soured in the last two years.

The rift first broke into the open with the November 2018 walkout. As The Times reported, that global protest signaled employees’ growing concern with a breakdown of the transparency and trust that long-defined Google’s corporate culture.

Since then, workers have complained that the company has become cagier and attempted to censor those, who speak out against new and existing policies.

Google recently announced it would hold fewer “TGIF” all-hands meetings due to leaks, took down memes that criticized the hiring of a former Department of Homeland Security staffer, and deleted questions during an all-staff meeting about the appointment of that staffer.

It also put in place new rules that limit the kinds of political speech employees can engage in on company time.

Meanwhile, workers in Zurich, Switzerland, recently held a meeting to discuss their rights as workers and what unionising would entail in defiance of Google’s repeated attempts to cancel the event.

Employees also accused the company of creating an internal tool that kept tabs on organising efforts by automatically reporting staffers who created a calendar event that included more than 10 rooms or 100 or more participants.

Edited & Vetted By: Fatima Sule/Wale Ojetimi

Durban to host historic 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Racism: Call out a negative behaviour when you see it happening, Samoura says  Buhari salutes Adebayo Adelabu at 50 Serena digs deep to find way past Ahn into second round Don’t lose faith in us, TUC begs Lagos residents Why Nigeria must remain united — Akande   Lalong inuagurates Abuja-Jos Max Air flight Convoy Attack: Gov. Zulum meets families of fallen policemen Tanzania to introduce electronic budgeting system to reduce revenue loss Lawan, Gbajabiamila vow to break PIB jinx by ensuring its passage Lagos Assembly asks Sanwo-Olu to establish MSMEs hubs in 3 senatorial districts Osinbajo urges destination countries to insist on repatriation of illicit funds Kerber goes out early again in Paris World Contraceptive Day: Advocacy for family planning, a service to humanity — Official UN Women, UNDP inaugurate COVID-19 global gender response tracker SaudiArabia says it busted terrorist cell trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Holding Company: Sterling Bank obtains CBN’s approval in principle PIB: Sylva dispels reports over alleged scraping of NNPC DISCO warns against vandalism of power infrastructure in Kano Defection: Delta APC says it will not miss former Delta Gov Uduaghan Niger Delta region has more than oil to offer- Agba Commission trains 100 saloon operators on COVID-19 hygiene in Lagos Delta Govt. to employ 40 pharmacists to bridge manpower gap NIS deploys 2,000 special force in Northwest   Tinubu salutes Gov. Oyetola at 66, applauds his achievements CDC Group, NSIA sign MoU to strengthen collaboration Minister flags off payment of N5,000 monthly cash transfer to poor households in Bayelsa World Rabies Day: Kebbi Govt vaccinates 17,200 dogs – Commissioner  COVID-19: Many would have died without journalists – Prof Dakas NBC pledges support to TStv, rolls out pay per view digital TV Oct. 1 National Theatre: Need for proper inventory responsible for delay of takeoff of renovation – Official BBNaija: Okowa congratulates Dorathy, Neo Federal University, Dutsinma seeks collaboration with ABU on agriculture, security NiMet predicts thunderstorms, cloudiness Tuesday to Thursday Nigeria @60: No social justice, religious and inter-ethnic tolerance – Ozekhome Food sufficiency: FG set to revitalise rice farms in Anambra Katsina State Govt. spends N18.80bn on water projects in 5 years Strike: NECA lauds FG, Labour for embracing dialogue 4 dead, 4 injured in Anambra multiple accident 4 die, 12 injured on Lagos-Ibadan expressway accident  Navy organises refresher training  on weapons handling, marksmanship for personnel Young farmers call for repositioning of agric sector Couple, 2 others arrested for alleged possession of human skull in Ogun NGO trains volunteers for advocacy of gender issues in Kwara World Rabies Day: Veterinary association calls for speedy review of legislation Lagos Airport Command gets new CP Buhari greets President XI Jinping on China’s 71st Anniversary Positive sentiment: Stock market opens week with N99bn growth Kwara labour unions issue 14 days ultimatum to Kwara Govt. Digitisation of government activities will reduce corruption -Fayemi