Google “Turn Yourself In” And See What Comes Up

The search engine Google recently disclosed that two employees (in separate incidents) had been caught accessing private data of Google users. Apparently the employees spied on e-mails and chats. At least 4 of the users were minors. Given the concerns with privacy of online data, that’s about the worst news a company like Google can imagine. It also points up the need for any company that collects private to be as vigilant as possible in protecting that data, and in doing what it can to ensure that disloyal employees keep their hands (and eyes and ears) off it. The link also discusses the dilemma that Google faced here when it discovered the problem. Do you alert the authorities? Google didn’t citing the privacy concerns of at least one victim’s family. But that is a tough call. No doubt any company would prefer to avoid the bad press. But when the story breaks (as it almost certainly will eventually) Google needs to deal not only with a story about a data breach, but also answer questions about what may look like a cover up. That may be more than it bargained for.