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    Gawker: Google Engineer Stalked Teens, Spied on Chats

    Gawker has a report about a Google engineer who allegedly abused his access privileges at the online services giant to stalk teenagers and spy on their chats. Google released a statement saying that, “We dismissed David Barksdale for breaking Google’s strict internal privacy policies.” Meanwhile, TechCrunch reports: “A Google spokesperson says that a similar security breach has happened once before and that the employee was also dismissed. The previous incident didn’t have any minors involved.”

    Gawker reports:

    David Barksdale, a 27-year-old former Google engineer, repeatedly took advantage of his position as a member of an elite technical group at the company to access users’ accounts, violating the privacy of at least four minors during his employment, we’ve learned. Barksdale met the kids through a technology group in the Seattle area while working as a Site Reliability Engineer at Google’s Kirkland, Wash. office. He was fired in July 2010 after his actions were reported to the company.

    It’s unclear how widespread Barksdale’s abuses were, but in at least four cases, Barksdale spied on minors’ Google accounts without their consent, according to a source close to the incidents. […]

    In other cases involving teens of both sexes, Barksdale exhibited a similar pattern of aggressively violating others’ privacy, according to our source. He accessed contact lists and chat transcripts, and in one case quoted from an IM that he’d looked up behind the person’s back. (He later apologized to one for retrieving the information without her knowledge.)

    Read the full Gawker posting to learn more details that a source told the site.

    One Response to “Gawker: Google Engineer Stalked Teens, Spied on Chats”

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