A Google employee was snooping around in the Gmail accounts of children. Google as fired him.
Of course, Google issued its standard mantra, "We take (insert problem here) very seriously."
"We dismissed David Barksdale for breaking Google's strict internal privacy policies. We carefully control the number of employees who have access to our systems, and we regularly upgrade our security controls--for example, we are significantly increasing the amount of time we spend auditing our logs to ensure those controls are effective. That said, a limited number of people will always need to access these systems, if we are to operate them properly--which is why we take any breach so seriously," Google's Bill Coughran, senior vice president of engineering, said in a statement.
Here are some questions I would have for Google:
• How many Google employees would have access to the content of private accounts?
• What is their level of employment? What background checks does Google do on potential employees?
• Is there a "double key" system, by which one employee may not get access to a private account without another employee -- ideally a supervisor -- logging in as well and looking over his shoulder?
• Will Google call in federal investigators to see if Barksdale should face criminal prosecution? He likely violated federal computer hacking and theft laws.
• The amazing thing is that this sort of thing does not happen more often. Google has thousands of employees on six continents. Can we trust them all? Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, the trustworthiness of Google is only as strong as its sleaziest employee.
• We saw how Google freaked out when people in China breeched security on GMail accounts in December. Why is it less of a crisis when Google employees do it?