Google Employees Claim Company Spies on Them to Prevent Worker Revolt

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Google employees claim the company has developed a new tool in their Chrome browser designed to find out if they are attempting to unionize.

Google employees discovered earlier in October that developers were creating a new tool for their internal Chrome browser, which would automatically flag any workers who created an event and invited more than 100 people or booked more than 10 rooms.

Four employees of the company told Bloomberg about the new software on the condition of anonymity, and told them that the most likely reason for its implementation is that it is “an attempt of leadership to immediately learn about any workers organization attempts.”

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According to the leakers, the tool will be rolled out by the end of the month, with some staffers already reporting it has been added to their computers last week.

The engineers behind the extension said that once installed, it would not be able to be removed, as it is used for “policy enforcement.”

The tool was subject to an internal review at Google in early September; while it was approved for roll-out, the team were critical, saying there were “a number of concerns with respect to the culture at Google,” that it was “creepy,” and joked that it should be called “not-a-trojan-horse_dot_exe.”

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A spokesman for Alphabet, Google’s parent company, denied the claims. “These claims about the operation and purpose of this extension are categorically false. This is a pop-up reminder that asks people to be mindful before auto-adding a meeting to the calendars of large numbers of employees,” the spokesman said.

The real reason was simply to stop workers from spamming a large number of people’s calendars with events, they claim.

Google announced in September an extension that would flag “problematic” posts on internal message boards, in an effort to clamp down on the discussion of politics – a move away from the company’s traditional open culture.

It is not clear whether this was the same project.