Google fired 80 employees for abusing user data and spying on people, with some even sharing personal information outside the company, a new report says
Google CEO Sundar Pichai Carsten Koall / Getty Images
From 2018 to 2020, Google laid off dozens of employees for accessing users' personal data.
Motherboard reports that some employees used the tools to access other employees' information.
Other tech companies like Facebook have reportedly seen similar situations of data abuse.
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Google has fired dozens of employees for misusing internal tools to access user data, Vice's motherboard reported its investigation on Wednesday, citing internal company documents.
In some cases, the report says, some Google employees have used the tools to spy on other employees, which would violate Google's guidelines.
The company laid off 36 employees last year, most of whom were for improper handling of sensitive information, such as disclosure to people outside the company, according to the document accessed by Motherboard. According to the report, the company laid off 18 people in 2018 for security reasons and 26 people in 2019.
A Google spokesperson told Insider: "We strictly restrict employee access through a number of industry-leading safeguards, including: restricting access to user data to only necessary people, requiring a justification for access to such data, and multi-level verification before access on sensitive data is granted and monitoring for access anomalies and violations. "
The spokesman also said the reported cases concern "inappropriate access to or misuse of proprietary and sensitive Google company information or intellectual property."
The news comes after a new book found that Facebook employees similarly abused their access to user data.
According to "The Ugly Truth: Insider Facebook's Battle for Domination", Facebook fired 52 people between 2014 and August 2015 for accessing user data for personal reasons. An engineer used his access to Facebook user data to track a woman he was traveling with from her hotel room after an argument.
Other tech companies have seen similar cases where their employees exploited user data. Snapchat employees abused their access to data a few years ago to spy on people using internal tools, Motherboard reported in 2019.
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