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Google dismisses engineer who violated privacy policy

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Google has dismissed an engineer who had access to its back-end systems after he violated the company's internal privacy policies.

On Tuesday, Gawker reported that the engineer, David Barksdale, was dismissed in July after he accessed at least four user accounts. And Google later released a statement confirming the dismissal.

"We dismissed David Barksdale for breaking Google’s strict internal privacy policies," reads the statement from Google senior vice president of engineering Bill Coughran. "We carefully control the number of employees who have access to our systems, and we regularly upgrade our security controls."

Coughran said the company is "significantly increasing" the amount of time it spends auditing its logs in an effort to ensure those security controls are effective.

"That said, a limited number of people will always need to access these systems if we are to operate them properly – which is why we take any breach so seriously," he added.

Though Google says it's committed to protecting the epic amounts of user data stored on its systems, the concern has long been the data would be compromised by a hack or by a rogue employee. Earlier this year, Google revealed that its internal systems had been hacked – apparently from China – and a piece of the company's intellectual property was stolen. ®

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