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Google Workers Charge Company Put Anti-Union Spy Tool in Browser

October 29, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—Google employees charge that the company’s leadership is developing an addition to the custom Google Chrome browser they use on the job that is intended to spy on union organizing. According to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News, the tool automatically reports staffers who create a calendar event that involves more than 10 rooms or 100 participants. The memo alleged that it is most likely “an attempt of leadership to immediately learn about any workers organization attempts.” A Google spokesperson called that claim “categorically false.” Two Google staffers in California said the tool was added to their work computers during the week beginning Oct. 21. The engineers responsible for developing it wrote in early October that employees would not be able to remove the extension from their computers and that it would be “used for policy enforcement.” A meme of men in suits posted on an internal Google message board had the caption “And then we told them, ‘WE WILL NOT make it appear to you that we are watching out for your protected concerted activities’ as we pushed a Chrome extension to report when someone makes a meeting with 100+ people.” Read more

October 29, 2019

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