Google Engineer Fired In Teen Cyber-Stalking, Privacy Flap


In a statement, Google said it "dismissed David Barksdale for breaking Google's strict internal privacy policies," Bill Coughran, Google senior vice president, said in a statement published by Gawker.

Barksdale, 27, allegedly used his position and permissions within the search giant to spy on chats and stalk the teens, which he had met through a Seattle-area technology group. Barksdale was fired in July after Google learned of his alleged activity, months after the cyber-stalking started, Gawker alleges.

According to several reports, Barksdale was a site reliability engineer with Google, which gave him access to databases that contain e-mails, chat logs and other Google user data. During his cyber-spying on the teens he allegedly accessed records of their Google Voice calls, pried into their Gmail accounts and perused their Google Chat accounts.

The teens' parents reportedly complained to Google about the privacy breach, which lead to Barksdale's dismissal. Gawker reported that Barksdale's cyber-stalking of the youths did not appear to be sexual in nature.

Sponsored post

"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," Coughran continued in the statement. "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."