Google confirmed it fired an engineer for violating its privacy policies following a media report the employee had been let go for spying on the Google accounts of teenagers.
Google confirmed today one of its engineers has been fired for
violating the company's privacy rules.
The acknowledgment followed a media report that Google employee David
Barksdale accessed the accounts of several teenagers in violation of Google
policies. According to Gawker
Barksdale was let go in July for abusing his position as a site reliability
engineer in Google's Kirkland, Wash., office by spying on the minors' Google
accounts, including accessing Google Voice call logs records and
Google Chat transcripts.
Barksdale was fired after Google received complaints about the situation,
"Site reliability engineers [SREs] are responsible for a variety of
tasks, including responding to technical problems across Google's product
portfolio, and as such have unfettered access to users' accounts for the
services they oversee," Gawker quoted a former Google SRE
In a statement, Bill Coughran, senior vice president of engineering at
Google, said Barksdale had been fired for "breaking Google's strict
internal privacy policies
"We carefully control the number of employees who have access to our
systems, and we regularly upgrade our security controls-for example, we are
significantly increasing the amount of time we spend auditing our logs to
ensure those controls are effective," he added. "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."