Google employees have accused their employer of creating a surveillance tool disguised as a calendar extension designed to monitor gatherings of more than 100 people, a signal that those employees may be planning protests or discussing union organizing. Google parent company Alphabet “categorically” denies the accusation.
The accusation, outlined in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News, claims severe unethical conduct from high-ranking Google employees, who they say allegedly ordered a team to develop an Chrome browser extension that would be installed on all employee machines and used primarily to monitor internal employee activity. Employees are claiming the tool reports anyone who creates a calendar invite and sends it to more than 100 others, alleging that it is an attempt to crackdown on organizing and employee activism.
The company that earns its money by finding new ways to extract actionable data from us to sell ads more effectively is employing that same kind of technology to prevent its employees from unionising and demanding better working conditions?
I’m so surprised.
Creepy? Yeah. Unethical? For employees. Not so much. Maybe if they are dishonest about it, but there isn’t (and generally shoudln’t be) any expectation of privacy at work.
I’m sure google employees are horrified to find the same techniques they use on everyone else on themselves.
I’ll try to at least appear sympathetic, if they’re not too shrill.