Google fires fifth activist employee in three weeks; complaint filed

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

For added context, it wasn’t just something where she put up some flyers saying “we have this right” or mentioned it to the person sitting next to her. She added some Javascript to Google’s internal version of Chrome so that it would show a big alert saying YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO UNIONIZE every time a specific website was visited. Her job was to make a Chrome extension that gives notices to prevent people from violating privacy policies for PII data, not an extension that notifies people of labor laws.


Okay, so, for reference and context after having looked up more context about this on other sources such as twitter: 1. There is no approval process for this ~~code~~* submission, according to her team lead. That part appears to have been made up whole cloth. 2. This would not be the first time that the app has been used for non-security, non-business alerts, and that appears to be a normal part of the operations. 3. Her team seems to regard this as a policy announcement 3. Specifically, this would cause a pop up when visiting either the internal policies page, or the website of a union-busting law firm that google has hired. The popup’s verbiage is copied directly from a list that google published in september in response to complaints to the labour board. It is quite literally an alert of stated google policy, which is an explicitly allowed function of the tool. ~~4. Rather than put her on leave when this happened, months ago, she was put on leave at the same time 4 other employees were fired for union related reasons.~~ Edit: Someone has pointed out that my point 5 was very mistaken! I had thought that she did this in september, I think because I got mixed up with the list that was posted in september in point 4. She was pulled from her desk *three hours* after the change, according to her own twitter, which I in fact did read . . . edit2: I did not do nearly enough fact-checking to be comfortable with this being a top post in the thread 😐 When I wrote this, the top 20 or so comments were all very favourable to google, and I expected to be downvoted, so I really just did a quick glance through relevant twitters, chasing the things that sounded off to me, and summarizing what I thought I’d read with very little care put into it. Why put effort into something you expect 3 people to read before it’s buried, right? Ah, oops. edit 3: *Actually, although me and everyone else automatically thought ‘code’, it doesn’t say that anywhere in the article, or in google’s response, or in anyone’s twitters. The particular change was to make a pop-up alert in an extension that does pop-up alerts. I would be very surprised if its list of pop-up alerts was hard-coded. It is likely she was merely changing something like a CSV file of websites & notices that the extension referenced. Ie: not code, and subject to the same rigorous review.


> “The issue here is that a security engineer misused a security and privacy tool to create a pop-up that was neither about security nor privacy,” a spokeswoman said on condition she not be named. “This person did that without authorization and without a business justification.” What a total and complete moron coupled with an impressive self-own.


A security engineer modified an employee chrome extension that is installed on everyone’s computer to pop up a pro-unionization message when they visit certain sites? Sorry but that is a huge violation of trust and an abuse of her role. Google was correct to fire her. People need to leave their politics and personal agendas at home.


Interesting, the top 5 or so posters are parrotting the exact same line. Seems Shill-y to me.