Google fires engineer for violating privacy policies
Wednesday 15 September 2010
Google said Tuesday that it had dismissed an engineer for violating the Internet giant's privacy policies.
"We dismissed David Barksdale for breaking Google's strict internal privacy policies," Bill Coughran, Google senior vice president of engineering, said in a statement.
Google did not provide any details about Barksdale's offenses but the website Gawker.com said the 27-year-old engineer was fired in July for allegedly accessing the accounts of four teenagers without their consent.
Coughran said Google takes "seriously" any breach of its privacy rules.
"We carefully control the number of employees who have access to our systems and we regularly update our security controls," he said.
"For example, we are significantly increasing the amount of time we spend auditing our logs to ensure the controls are effective," Coughran said.
"That said, a limited number of people will always need to access these systems if we are to operate them properly, which is why we take any breach so seriously," he said.
According to Gawker, Barksdale, who worked as a "Site Reliability Engineer" at Google's Kirkland, Washington office, "repeatedly took advantage of his position as a member of an elite technical group at the company to access users' accounts, violating the privacy of at least four minors."
Gawker said that in an incident this spring involving a 15-year-old boy, Barksdale tapped into call logs from Google Voice, Google's online phone service, after the boy refused to tell him the name of his new girlfriend.
After accessing the boy's account to retrieve the girlfriend's name and phone number, Barksdale then threatened to call her, Gawker said.
Gawker cited an unidentified source as saying that Barksdale's actions "did not appear to be sexual in nature" but "demonstrated extraordinarily questionable judgment."
The firing comes amid a continuing debate in the United States over the handling of private information collected by Google, the world's leading Web search engine, and Facebook, which has more than 500 million members.
Life & Style blogs
Holocaust Memorial Day: 70 years since Auschwitz liberation, these are the stories of survivors
Double chins could be 'cured' without surgery or dieting using new injection
Does the path to true love really lie in these 36 questions?
Hershey's angers US chocolate purists by forcing company to stop importing 'yummy' Cadbury bars
Food secrets: the good, the bad...and the faeces
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes
- 1 King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
- 5 Grumpy Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunity to join a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: BI Developer (Business In...
£Negotiable (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Mac Operator / Artworker to ...
£Negotiable (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Digital Content Designer / W...