Home / Blog / Google fired Rebecca Rivers, an employee who questioned its work with Customs and Border Protection
Google fired Rebecca Rivers, an employee who questioned its work with Customs and Border Protection

Google fired Rebecca Rivers, an employee who questioned its work with Customs and Border Protection

Google fired Rebecca Rivers, an employee who questioned its work with Customs and Border Protection

A former Google employee who helped prepare a petition towards Google operating with US immigration businesses has been fired from the corporate in what some are viewing as an assault on employee activism inside the seek massive’s rank and document.

Rebecca Rivers, a former Google tool engineer, introduced on her non-public Twitter account that her employment were terminated. According to Bloomberg, Google introduced nowadays that it fired 4 staff for what it known as “clear and repeated violations” of its data-security insurance policies, in a observe despatched to its group of workers and showed through a spokesperson for the corporate.

The transfer comes after Google positioned Rivers and every other employee additionally concerned about organizing, Laurence Berland, on administrative go away previous this month. The corporate alleged the workers violated corporate insurance policies about having access to delicate inside paperwork and tracking staff’ calendar occasions. But Rivers and Berland have objected to these claims, announcing the paperwork in query weren’t delicate and that tracking public calendar occasions does now not spoil any company regulations.

Around 200 Google staff and protestors rallied out of doors the quest massive’s San Francisco workplace on Friday, difficult the corporate reinstate Rivers and Berland. The corporate’s firings nowadays are considered as a major escalation of an expanding crackdown on Google’s traditionally permissive tradition round sharing data — and what some staff are announcing is an effort to silence staff’ issues about debatable choices.

In a observe despatched to group of workers through Google’s Security and Investigations Team, the corporate mentioned “thorough investigation” discovered the people fired “were involved in systematic searches for other employees’ materials and work,” and that they had been discovered to be “repeating this conduct even after they were met with and reminded about our data security policies.” The observe additionally alleged that some staff reported feeling unsafe as a result of their calendar occasions had been being monitored. Some screenshots of the ones calendar entries “made their way” out of doors the corporate, consistent with the observe. Several Google staff on Friday instructed Recode that colleagues continuously glance up every others’ calendar occasions, and that of their view, this shouldn’t be grounds for such punishment.

Rivers and Berland didn’t reply to a request for remark. A spokesperson for Google, Jenn Kaiser, stated the corporate isn’t confirming the names of the workers fired nowadays and declined to remark about staff’ allegations of retaliation.

At the rally on Friday, Rivers spoke in regards to the movements she believes ended in control taking motion towards her.

“I’m proud of what I did, and I believe everyone has a right to know what their work is being used for,” stated Rivers about her grievance of Google’s work with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a central authority company that has come below hearth from human rights organizations for its enforcement of Trump’s debatable circle of relatives separation insurance policies. In August, it used to be published that Google used to be providing a unfastened pilot of considered one of its cloud merchandise to CBP. “Instead of listening to me or thousands of my coworkers, Google has punished me by putting me on administrative leave.”

Rivers stated she used to be questioned through Google’s investigations group about her involvement organizing a petition towards the corporate’s work with CBP, in addition to her non-public social media utilization.

Rivers isn’t the primary employee to say that the corporate has retaliated towards her for political causes. Two of the leaders of the 2018 Google walkout towards sexual harassment, Meredith Whittaker and Claire Stapleton, have publicly stated the corporate driven them out as a result of their organizing. And a number of different distinguished former inside activists, equivalent to Liz Fong-Jones and Irene Knapp, have made equivalent claims. A handful of staff at the different aspect of the political spectrum, who are got rid of from Google’s core crew of in large part left-leaning activists, have claimed they had been terminated for sharing conservative affairs of state at work. One of the ones staff, Kevin Cernekee, posted feedback on inside Google boards apparently protecting white nationalist determine Richard Spencer and the detest crew Golden State Skinheads.

In September, Google agreed to publicly remind its staff about their prison rights to speak about and have interaction in place of job organizing, as a part of a agreement with the United States National Labor Relations Board over claims that the corporate used to be suppressing staff’ secure speech.

In the previous two years, Google has drawn grievance from its staff about moral issues round subjects starting from sexual harassment to govt contracts. In specific, the corporate’s hiring of a former US Department of Homeland Security authentic, Miles Taylor, who helped shield President Trump’s debatable circle of relatives separation coverage and Muslim ban, just lately raised ire inside the corporate’s rank and document. Some staff alleged that the corporate used to be deleting inside questions that had been essential of Taylor’s hiring.

At the similar time that inside activism has been rising, the corporate has been proscribing its famously open tradition. In the previous 12 months, it has positioned new regulations on applicable speech on inside boards, eradicated alternatives to query control on moral issues in weekly all-hands conferences, and instituted a “need-to-know” coverage for viewing many corporate paperwork that had been prior to now extra broadly obtainable to staff.

In its observe to staff nowadays, Google made a case that its movements to limit staff’ get entry to to delicate data isn’t a limitation of its open tradition.

“We have always taken information security very seriously, and will not tolerate efforts to intimidate Googlers or undermine their work, nor actions that lead to the leak of sensitive business or customer information,” learn the observe. “This is not how Google’s open culture works or was ever intended to work.”

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