Google fires a stalker engineer over private life concerns
September 15th, 2010 - 11:35 am ET by J. G.
Google has fired an engineer for violating the company’s respect of private life policy. David Barksdale is accused of accessing the user accounts of four minors.
This isn’t the Street View affair where the cars were collecting unsecured WiFi network information which a Google engineer inserted into the program. This is something completely different, which is certainly worrying for the end user.
Google has confirmed that in July 2010 they fired one of their engineers for breaching their "strict internal policy relating to the respect of private life". The lines that follow are enough to provide users with a cold sweat, as Google provided information about the affair without completely revealing the details, something which an article in Gawker has now done.
According to Gawker, this Google employee - David Barksdale, used his job as a Site Reliability Engineer to freely access user’s accounts in the Google services which he supervised. Without any intention of possible sexual abuse, but rather to demonstrate his power over the Google users, the 27 year old spied on the Gmail, Gtalk and Google Voice (Google’s telephone service) history of four minors without their consent.
Gawker states that David Barksdale went through the Google Voice logs to discover the telephone number of a 15 year old’s girlfriend. David Barksdale was a friend of the teenager and when he refused to reveal the identity of his new girlfriend, Mr Barksdale threatened to ring her.
To reassure users, Google assures that they are "carefully controlling the number of employees who have access to their systems" and that they are "regularly updating their security controls".
"Having said this, a number a people will always have access to our systems to assure that they are correctly working. It is for this reason that we take any breech seriously", states Google.