Google fired eighty employees in the last three years for security violations related to the misuse of company data and user data, according to an internal Google document obtained by Vice’s tech news vertical, Motherboard.
According to Motherboard, the number of Google employees fired for such violations has risen year-on-year: 18 in 2018, 26 in 2019, and 36 in 2020.
The document says that Google terminated 36 employees in 2020 for security-related issues. Eighty-six percent of all security-related allegations against employees included mishandling of confidential information, such as the transfer of internal-only information to outside parties.
Ten percent of all allegations in 2020 concerned misuse of systems, which can include accessing user or employee data in violation of Google’s own policies, helping others to access that data, or modifying or deleting user or employee data, according to the document. In 2019, that figure was 13 percent of all security allegations.
Google terminated 26 people in 2019 and 18 in 2018 related to security incidents, the person who provided the document told Motherboard. Motherboard granted the person anonymity to speak more candidly about Google issues. The document says that other measures Google can take with employees that mishandled data can include warnings, training, and coaching.
In a statement to Motherboard, a Google representative said the company “tightly restrict[s] employee access through a number of industry leading safeguards, including: limiting access to user data to necessary individuals, requiring a justification to access such data, multi-stage review before access is granted to sensitive data, and monitoring for access anomalies and violations.”
The collection of user data has been an integral component of Google’s business model for many years. The company has been embroiled in multiple security scandals over the years, including a bug that exposed user data on its short-lived Google Plus social network in 2018 (which it initially hid from the public), a spyware breach in its Chrome browser earlier this year. In 2019, federal regulators launched an investigation into the company’s access to detailed medical records.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.