As the U.S looks to create laws and rules for Big Tech and how online platforms can treat content, new reports have zeroed in on how some employees are already being tracked. Big Tech companies are keeping close tabs on their employees, particularly Google. The more that Big Tech companies invade the privacy of users and engage in anti-competitive behavior, the more we have to question and acknowledge their role in our society today.
In a report released by The Information, Google appears to be zeroing in on employees for a number of online activities including when they research the cost of health insurance, draft resignation letters, or search for an internal checklist when wanting to leave the company. They also appear to be tracking employees when they take screenshots on their work devices, use encrypted messaging platforms, or operate with non-Google online storage services.
Google was previously sued by employee DeWayne Cassel for viewing his online communications and then turning around to use it against him. Big Tech companies like Google have been vague in how they keep a watchful eye over users and access data in compliance with their company’s terms of service.
While Google has access to user data in order to “protect Google,” some are questioning the abilities of Google to access the personal data of non-employees. They’ve been reluctant to answer any questions on how the data has been used, which is alarming since it is being fed into some of the world’s most powerful computers.
The data being collected by Google and other Big Tech companies is being used to sell ads, develop artificial algorithms, and even interpret language. Some companies have the reluctance to answer questions about how data collecting is used and if they can “cross a boundary” in the data they should be able to access. Google even terminated a handful of employees after they accessed highly confidential company information.
A Google spokesperson emphasized that the company has “zero interest” in employees’ personal data and that they follow security policies that protect sensitive IP and trade secrets. The spokesperson states that employees are required to safeguard the data and preserve trust in employees to the highest standard.
While some of the data programs like “SensorVault” have made it to law enforcement to help solve crimes, others have noted how concerned they are with the precision of the data. One deputy police chief even described the SensorVault data as showing the “whole pattern of life” itself.
As internet freedom continues to decline and more users are seeing fraud, criminal activity, and censorship, countries have been working on laws and rules to dictate how the data and content are treated. GOP leaders are pushing against platforms like Facebook and Twitter for refusing to take down inappropriate content and acting as a cesspool for child sex offenders. The internet has been exploited and leaders are looking to see what they can do next. Not to mention, Google has had a trail of manipulative market practices and anti-competitive behavior. They are silencing and censoring conservatives while buying out the competition. The leaders have a political responsibility to secure the internet for all users.
Even Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill to stop social media companies from censoring users based on politics.
Everyone will eventually leave the Big Tech platforms for something better and more secure. In this day and age, privacy is essential.