Google fired engineer for spying on teens

Sept. 16, 2010 at 12:24 PM

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Sept. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. Internet firm Google said it had fired an engineer for allegedly violating its privacy policy by gathering information about four teenagers.

The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that Kirkland, Wash., engineer David Barksdale was fired in July after the incident came to light, while Google and other companies stand opposed to tighter federal policies on Internet privacy.

Google said Barksdale, who could not be reached for comment, was fired for a breach of their "strict internal privacy policies." On a large scale, Google contends that the industry can police itself on privacy matters.

The newspaper said that Gawker, which describes itself as a gossip Web site, had described the incident as non-sexual.

SunSentinel.com reported that Barksdale gathered phone chat room and instant message transcripts of a 15-year-old and that he was fired after the teenager's parents reported the incident to Google.

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