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posted by martyb on Thursday December 02 2021, @12:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the chaotic-neutral dept.

Lawsuit: Google employees were fired for upholding “Don’t be evil” code:

Three former Google software engineers who sued the company yesterday claim they were fired for following Google's famous "Don't be evil" mantra.

"Google terminated each plaintiffs' employment with it for adhering to the directive 'Don't be evil' and calling out activity by Google that they each believed betrayed that directive," according to the complaint filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court by Rebecca Rivers, Sophie Waldman, and Paul Duke. The ex-employees say Google falsely blamed them for a data leak after they circulated an internal petition.

The lawsuit notes that the Google Code of Conduct "that each full-time Google employee is required to sign as a condition of employment" specifically instructs them not to be evil. The ex-employees say they tried to uphold the "Don't be evil" policy in August 2019 by circulating a petition "requesting that Google affirm that it would not collaborate with CBP [US Customs and Border Protection] or ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] with respect to enforcement of the Trump border control policies."

"[E]ach plaintiff protested Google's engagement in supporting BCP policies that resulted in separation of families and 'caging' of immigrants who were seeking asylum in the United States," the complaint said.

Google's firings of Rivers, Waldman, and Duke are also part of an ongoing case in which the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Google.

Previously:
(2018-10-13) Google Leak: The Good Censor
(2018-09-14) "Senior Google Scientist" Resigns over Chinese Search Engine Censorship Project
(2018-05-19) "Don't be Evil" Disappearing From Google's Code of Conduct


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  • (Score: 0, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @12:28PM (25 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @12:28PM (#1201445)

    Nothing like being non-evil by making sure the most disadvantaged Americans remain on welfare as companies are encouraged to hire under the table people or those from other countries who send there money overseas and for those who like to avoid customs, their movement fuels drug and sex trafficking.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @12:37PM (16 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @12:37PM (#1201449)

    You know what's evil? Using outsourced labor below minimum wage. Whether that be from another country or from prisoners in our own, doing so distorts the labor market unfairly against small business owners.

    Owners of small business are unable to fairly xompete by paying minimum wage to local citizens, because their own government is undermining them by allowing companies to use prison slave labor paid less than minimum wage or outsourcing it to another country at below minimum wage.

    The cradle to slave incarceration system we have now only benefits those megacorporations at the tippy top--and it absolutely destroys small business' ability to compete. That's completely ignoring the fact that these are human beings. Real, living, conscious, feeling beings having their lives destroyed. They're your neighbors. They're you.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by HammeredGlass on Thursday December 02 2021, @03:55PM

      by HammeredGlass (12241) on Thursday December 02 2021, @03:55PM (#1201533)

      Both what you say and what you are responding to are true.

    • (Score: 1, Disagree) by khallow on Thursday December 02 2021, @10:54PM (12 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 02 2021, @10:54PM (#1201674) Journal

      You know what's evil? Using outsourced labor below minimum wage. Whether that be from another country or from prisoners in our own, doing so distorts the labor market unfairly against small business owners.

      It sounds like you think the answer to that is to not outsource labor. But there is another way. Lower or eliminate the minimum wage in question and the moral dilemma goes away. This is a common effect with regulation - the perception of evil only exists because the regulation exists. If the moral reasons for the regulation outweighs the moral reasons for circumventing it, then you may well have evil.

      A second problem is with the subjectivity of the morality itself. There are other moral goods here such as providing a living for billions of people worldwide or improving the rehabilitation of prisoners by allowing them to work at a trade while they're doing their time. Even the megacorporations have interests that we should respect, if it doesn't support a greater good (and so often it doesn't).

      Owners of small business are unable to fairly xompete by paying minimum wage to local citizens, because their own government is undermining them by allowing companies to use prison slave labor paid less than minimum wage or outsourcing it to another country at below minimum wage.

      I think of this as an unintended consequence of those minimum wage laws and IMHO a strong indication of the immorality of them.

      The cradle to slave incarceration system we have now only benefits those megacorporations at the tippy top--and it absolutely destroys small business' ability to compete. That's completely ignoring the fact that these are human beings. Real, living, conscious, feeling beings having their lives destroyed. They're your neighbors. They're you.

      I think this concern is overblown for several reasons. First, it's not slavery. Just saying.

      Second, the very regulations that you mention are what created this situation. Sure, there are economies of scale from global trade and a variety of industries. But there are also economies of scale for dealing with the thicket of complex regulation and taxes/fees/licensing that every business has to deal with. It turns out megacorps are a lot better at dealing with that than the Mom and Pops are.

      Third, globalization is greatly improving the lot of humanity worldwide (vastly more than just the "tippy top") and thus, reducing that wage differential that drives most outsourcing. Way back when, about the year 2000, I looked at the wage differential between US and Chinese labor. It was about a factor of six difference back then. Now, it's more like a factor of three (with the US side holding up pretty well). I'd have to look up the numbers to get a better estimate than that. Similar declines in wage differentials have occurred for just about everyone (with most of the present day developed world being a good example, they were collectively a lot worse off relative to the US at the end of the Second World War than they are now).

      My take here is that if your morality results in increased suffering for billions of people (which is common for this topic), then you need a better class of morality.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @12:20AM (9 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @12:20AM (#1201687)

        First, it's not slavery. Just saying.

        Stopped reading. You've clearly never been in the system. It most certainly IS slavery. It's ownership of a human being (by the state), forced labor (rented out to corporations by the state), and that human is not paid a fair wage, if at all.

        Die in a fire, you inhuman piece of shit.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @12:49AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @12:49AM (#1201694)

          Welcome to SoylentNews where the sociopaths abound and white supremacists work on radicalization and recruitment.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @11:37AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @11:37AM (#1201793)

            TBF, I've been running a 20 year propaganda campaign aimed at the exact opposite, and it's shown some pretty notable success. Mostly by getting the attention of the people who have the actual ability and position to effect changes by building better systems and calling out bad ones.

            Societies change slowly. It's a lifetime task. Probably longer, really.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday December 03 2021, @01:23AM (4 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 03 2021, @01:23AM (#1201705) Journal

          You've clearly never been in the system.

          What is "the system" here?

          • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @07:11AM (3 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @07:11AM (#1201766)

            The US for profit prison system.

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday December 03 2021, @01:21PM (2 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 03 2021, @01:21PM (#1201800) Journal

              The US for profit prison system.

              You've just covered two million people out of something like 4-5 billion people. The original poster wasn't just talking about the US prison system.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @05:06PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @05:06PM (#1201859)

                The very first words of this thread:

                Nothing like being non-evil by making sure the most disadvantaged Americans...

                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday December 03 2021, @07:47PM

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 03 2021, @07:47PM (#1201917) Journal
                  A few words later

                  Whether that be from another country

                  At that point, you're talking billions of people not just prisoners in the US.

        • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Friday December 03 2021, @05:59PM (1 child)

          by DeathMonkey (1380) on Friday December 03 2021, @05:59PM (#1201878) Journal

          It most certainly IS slavery.

          Completely legal slavery!

          13th Ammendment:

          Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06 2021, @08:35AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06 2021, @08:35AM (#1202474)

            Have you tried not committing any crimes where the punishment is incarceration?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @12:48PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @12:48PM (#1201798)

        Millions of people earning minimum wage today in the US are on the social safety net. So if you eliminate minimum wage, you either need to expand the social safety net or accept that millions more people will be hungry and homeless. I suspect I know which answer you like, and unless I'm pleasantly surprised, we're done talking.

        The US has a hundred trillion dollars in net wealth. The idea of eliminating minimum wage when 1% of households have quite literally more than ten million in average wealth is morally abhorrent. The money exists to pay every worker making goods for America $20 an hour or better, the rich simply won't share. I don't believe in hell, but I hope they all go there.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday December 03 2021, @08:33PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 03 2021, @08:33PM (#1201957) Journal

          Millions of people earning minimum wage today in the US are on the social safety net. So if you eliminate minimum wage, you either need to expand the social safety net or accept that millions more people will be hungry and homeless. I suspect I know which answer you like, and unless I'm pleasantly surprised, we're done talking.

          There's several things to note here. First, I don't buy the model - it has too many unicorns in it. There's several things that get ignored. There are numerous problems that come with these things such as greater unemployment, migration to high living cost areas (because minimum wages hurt those regions less), greater concentration of business, and the outsourcing. Notice that the last two of the problems were listed by the original poster as the reason for higher minimum wage.

          Second, it ignores the real problems: excessive cost of living and collective punishment of employers. Supply and demand is a thing here. Make employment more expensive through those minimum wages and safety net taxes on employment and just doing business, and you get less of it. Similarly, more generous social security nets encourages more consumption of those services.

          Overall, it's a pretty perverse situation where the cure is the disease.

          The US has a hundred trillion dollars in net wealth. The idea of eliminating minimum wage when 1% of households have quite literally more than ten million in average wealth is morally abhorrent. The money exists to pay every worker making goods for America $20 an hour or better, the rich simply won't share. I don't believe in hell, but I hope they all go there.

          Will it be less morally abhorrent to destroy society in order to do that? The money exists to pay generic people lots of money, but they aren't generating value to justify that - wages and benefits [heritage.org] track productivity pretty well in the US.

          My take is that social safety nets are a continually growing menace. In the US, they're the largest portion of the US budget (more than half) and going up. What happens when the governments of the US can no longer fund roads or law enforcement, because that money is earmarked for pensions, public health care, and similar entitlements? I don't see the number of hungry and homeless people going down when infrastructure falls apart.

          Maybe it's time to do what works and pay attention to the economic basics?

    • (Score: 2) by JustNiz on Friday December 03 2021, @01:19AM (1 child)

      by JustNiz (1573) on Friday December 03 2021, @01:19AM (#1201704)

      Just pointing out that the workers are freely taking the jobs and are free to quit at any time.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @01:59PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @01:59PM (#1201479)

    All the government has to do to solve the illegal immigrant labor issue is make it a jailable offense to employ someone off books or for less than minimum wage.

    The Republicans and Democrats won't do that, because thousands of millionaires nationwide that donate to both parties built their fortunes by employing illegal immigrants.

    The problem here, as in so many other places, are the rich fuckers in power. Not the desperate refugees from Honduras and Nicaragua. The Republicans and Democrats have just made the issue a form of political football, they don't really give a damn about American workers or the illegal immigrants.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Thursday December 02 2021, @04:42PM (1 child)

      by Phoenix666 (552) on Thursday December 02 2021, @04:42PM (#1201547) Journal

      It's more than that, though. The tech companies abuse the H1-B system to bring in labor for less than the going rate in-country in order to suppress wages. The H1-B's are not working for less than minimum wage, but it still has a deleterious effect on citizens who paid first-world fees for a first-world degree only to find out that the companies they thought they'd work for and earn first-world wages from suddenly only want to pay third-world rates.

      We talk about tech companies often here so I used them as an example, but it's used by many more companies in other sectors in the USA; my brother works for one of the big 3 in Detroit and his company does it, too.

      --
      Washington DC delenda est.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @12:55AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @12:55AM (#1201697)

        I was replying in particular to the parent post, which seemed focus on illegal immigrants taking bottom tier wage jobs and - according to them - facilitating the sex trade and sending their earnings overseas.

        I agree with what you wrote, but as bad as that is, I think it's less of an issue. Even the people in tech or medicine that despise the immigrants driving down wages, they don't consider them subhuman or advocate violence towards them. When it comes to Latinos crossing the southern border, it seems like half the US wants to stick them in gas chambers. And again, they're only coming because they can find better work here than at home, and they can only find better work here because our government never punishes the people who hire them.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mcgrew on Thursday December 02 2021, @03:42PM (4 children)

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday December 02 2021, @03:42PM (#1201529) Homepage Journal

    "Don't be evil" was a lie from the outset. There is no such thing as an honest billionaire.

    --
    Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday December 02 2021, @06:02PM (2 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 02 2021, @06:02PM (#1201571) Journal

      Google said "don't be evil", so they can't lie.

      They wouldn't lie because that would be evil.

      --
      You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @05:41PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03 2021, @05:41PM (#1201871)

      "Don't be evil" was a lie from the outset.

      Says the person who wasn't there from the outset.

      Do you remember the 1990s? With WebCrawler, Lycos, Yahoo, AOL, Ask Jeeves and all the others?

      Google wasn't billionaires at the start. They were not evil. They gave better search results than others. They clearly highlighted what was advertisements (and made sure they were not intrusive, no flashing marquee), championed standardization and usefulness, and several other things.

      Are they evil now? Arguably. Don't pretend it was a lie from the "outset."