IN TECH, there are a few truths we hold to be self-evident. One is that Google and its fellow big tech companies are probably spying on you. Another is that Google and its fellow big tech companies don't like trade unions.
Call this the perfect storm then, because according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg, Google employees have accused the search giant of spying on them, using a surveillance tool it has created to look for large unofficial gatherings of employees.
The tool, currently being deployed as an extension for Chrome, will alert Google High Command if anyone in the Alphabet Castle books a meeting with more than 10 rooms or 100 participants. The memo alleges that "this is an attempt of leadership to immediately learn about any workers organisation attempts."
Google, of course, denies this: "These claims about the operation and purpose of this extension are categorically false. This is a pop-up reminder that asks people to be mindful before auto-adding a meeting to the calendars of large numbers of employees."
But it would say that, wouldn't it?
That said, Google insists that the app is merely designed to cut down on 'calendar spam' by adding an extra step as a 'speed bump' and that there are no personally identifiable details being taken, nor is any action taken over large meetings when identified.
But it would say that too, wouldn't it?
Relations between Google and its employees has been nothing if not shonky - from its policies on discrimination and the #metoo movement, through to the way it treats contractors and its relationship with China, its been a less than content few years and this is just more fuel for the fire.
There are a number of memes relating to the new extension doing the rounds of the Alphabet Castle, and one wag has suggested the extension should be called not_a_trojan_horse_dot_exe.
Indeed, with talk that Googlers are now warned not to discuss politics, and that it is also said to be working on a tool to monitor private internal conversations, it doesn't sound like things are about to get easier, either. µ
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