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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trusted Engineers?


As I was doing my rounds today, I stumbled across this story...

A Google engineer has been fired after allegedly violating the privacy of at least four teenagers by spying on their accounts.

David Barksdale repeatedly took advantage of his position as a member of an elite technical group at the company to access users' accounts, tapping into call logs and accessing contact lists and chat transcripts, Gawker reports.

The 27-year-old was fired in July after Google management was alerted to the problem by an email from someone complaining of his inappropriate behaviour.

The cases involve teens of both sexes and all involved serious violations of privacy — although not thought to have been of a sexual nature.

In one case, Barksdale befriended a boy and then demanded to know the name of his new girlfriend.

When he refused, Barksdale allegedly tapped into the boy's Google Voice call logs to retrieve her name and phone number, later taunting him and threatening to call her.

It is unclear how many accounts Barksdale may have inappropriately accessed while working at Google.

The case comes as Google attempts to address concerns about privacy by encrypting Gmail to protect messages from hackers, and by simplifying its privacy policies to make them more comprehensible to users.


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