Google Fired Dozens of Employees for Data Misuse and Access to Users’ Personal Information

Hot potatoes: Have you ever worried about what technical staff are doing with your personal information? A new report says that between 2018 and 2020, Google fired dozens of employees for data misuse, including stealing or leaking corporate information and accessing user or employee data in violation of its policies.

The news comes from an internal Google document obtained by Motherboard This shows how Google laid off 36 employees in 2020 due to security concerns. Most of the allegations (86%) were related to mishandling of confidential information, such as transferring files for internal use only to outside parties, and 10% were related to misuse of systems, which could include accessing user or employee data or helping others with gaining access to this data.

There were more layoffs due to security incidents in the previous two years: 26 in 2019 and 18 in 2018. The document says layoffs aren’t the only way Google deals with these situations; it can also issue warnings, train and instruct employees who mishandle data.

“The cases mentioned are mainly related to inappropriate access or misuse of private and confidential corporate information or intellectual property,” a Google spokesman told Vice. “In terms of user data, we severely restrict employee access through a number of industry-leading security measures, including: restricting access to user data to the right person, requiring justification for access to such data, multi-step verification before granting access to sensitive data, and monitoring. anomalies and access violations ”.

“The number of violations, both intentional and unintentional, is consistently low. Each employee is trained annually, we investigate all allegations, and violations lead to corrective actions, up to and including termination of employment. We transparently publish the number and results of our investigations to our employees and have strict procedures to protect customer and user data from any internal or external threats. ”

This is far from the first time that technical staff have abused their position. According to the new book (via Insider), Facebook fired 52 people from 2014 to August 2015 for the same, including an engineer who used his employee’s access to track down a woman who left him after an altercation.

Elsewhere, Ring in 2020 said it fired four employees for inappropriate access to customer videos, and a 2016 lawsuit by a former Uber employee alleged that employees were tracking celebrities, politicians and former partners.

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