Shareholders have filed lawsuits against Google parent company Alphabet over allegations that the company covered up claims of sexual misconduct against top executives.In two lawsuits filed this week, investors claimed that Alphabet's board failed in its duties by not tackling harassment within the company, approving large payouts and acting to conceal allegations, according to Reuters.Read more: Google can limit right to be forgotten to EUBoth lawsuits name the full board of Alphabet, which includes co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, venture capitalist John Doerr and investor Ram Shriram.Last year, the New York Times reported that Android creator Andy Rubin received a $90m exit package in 2014, while allegations of sexual misconduct against him were covered up.The report also claimed that Google allowed a former vice president Amit Singhal to resign following claims of harassment against him, paying him millions of dollars upon his departure.
In October, the New York Times published a story that several other outlets had been chasing, in some cases for years: the story of how Andy Rubin, the founder of Android, had received a $90 million payout upon leaving the company despite having a credible complaint of sexual misconduct against him from another Google employee.The story, which included several other examples of male Google executives receiving multimillion-dollar payouts after being accused of sexual harassment, sparked a furor inside the company that led to 20,000 employees walking off the job.The suit seeks three new independent directors for the Alphabet board, and an end to the dual-class voting structure of the stock — moves that would greatly diminish the power held by co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.Melia Robinson talked to one of them:“We think Google, or Alphabet, can really do a better job of looking out for shareholders and its employees,” Julie Goldsmith Reiser, an attorney representing pension funds in the litigation.Days after Motherboard revealed the practice — and prompted US senators to to call for an investigation — AT said it would stop selling your real-time location to whoever wanted it.
Over the years, plenty of kudos have been directed at the people at the helms of big tech companies.Until recent hard times, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook and Alphabet’s Sergey Brin, among others, have been fawned over by a compliant press and portrayed as visionaries and great leaders.But the world’s best tech leader hasn’t been lionized, not even now that the tech giant he has guided for almost five years remains relatively stable amid jumpy markets.He has successfully turned Microsoft from a plodding, increasingly irrelevant company into a tech powerhouse that’s surprisingly nimble and more willing to change course than its competitors.To fully recognize how much Nadella has transformed Microsoft, look back to February 2014, when he took over as CEO from Steve Ballmer.Given the pace of change in the tech world, it’s easy to forget how big a problem that was a few short years ago.
The suit comes after Google reportedly gave generous exit packages to executives accused of sexual misconduct.Shareholders are seeking new directors for the Alphabet board, as well as an end to forced arbitrations.Shareholders have filed a lawsuit against Google’s parent company Alphabet after Google allegedly green-lit generous exit packages to executives accused of sexual misconduct.According to The Verge, citing legal filings, the suit is calling for three new, independent directors to join the parent company’s board.It’s also urging an end to so-called “dual class voting structure,” which would reduce the power of Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.Additionally, the filing is calling for the accused executives to return their exit packages.
A Google shareholder has filed a lawsuit against the company's executive officers and board of directors, alleging the company concealed sexual misconduct allegations against former executives.The lawsuit, filed by shareholder James Martin, stems from hefty severance packages Google reportedly gave executive Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android mobile operating system, and Amit Singhal, head of Google's search unit until 2016.Allegations of sexual harassment against the two men were found to be credible by company investigations, according to the lawsuit."Rubin was allowed to quietly resign by defendants Larry Page and Sergey Brin after an internal investigation found the allegations of sexual harassment by Rubin to be credible," according to the complaint, filed Thursday in California state court."While at Google, Rubin is also alleged to have engaged in human sex trafficking -- paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to women to be, in Rubin's own words, 'owned' by him."The lawsuit comes during a period of prominent figures in industries ranging from politics to entertainment being toppled by revelations of sexual harassment or sexual assault.
Alphabet's board of directors are being sued over allegations of covering up company executives accused of sexual harassment or discrimination.The lawsuit, on behalf of an Alphabet shareholder, cites Android creator Andy Rubin's alleged $90 million exit package following an internal investigation into his behavior."Rubin was allowed to quietly resign by defendants Larry Page and Sergey Brin after an internal investigation found the allegations of sexual harassment by Rubin to be credible," according to the California court filing.The board members of Google-parent company Alphabet are being sued over allegations that the company routinely covered up claims of sexual harassment by executives, including Android creator Andy Rubin who received a $90 million exit package and a "hero's farewell" following an internal investigation about his behavior.The lawsuit, filed in California state court on Thursday by an Alphabet shareholder, alleges that the board of directors and top executives, including co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, failed in their responsibility to investors by letting the harassment carry on."Alphabet's Board knew about allegations of sexual harassment by numerous high‐level executives at Google, which the Company found to be 'credible' after performing internal investigations and review, and yet failed to disclose the finding that the allegations were credible, and instead allowed the high ‐level executives to resign with lavish pay packages," the complaint says.
Shareholders today filed a lawsuit against Google parent company Alphabet, arguing that the company had breached its duty to shareholders when it approved large exit packages for former executives after determining that there were credible allegations of sexual misconduct.The suit was filed this morning in San Mateo Superior Court by Alphabet shareholder James Martin.The suit seeks three new independent directors for the Alphabet board — a move that would dilute the power held by cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.It also calls for executives who received payouts to return them to the company.Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.In October, the New York Times reported that Google had given former Android boss Andy Rubin a $90 million exit package after he was accused of sexual misconduct by another employee.
Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin created the PageRank search results algorithm in 1996.As the Web has matured, I see a shift towards the eventual creation of a more dependable and universal ratings and measurement ranking system, incorporating a dozen or more separate rating and ranking systems from both existing services and new tools that will roll out in 2019 and beyond.Such a system would likely incorporate certain signals picked up from the latest artificial intelligence, voice search, and even chatbot activity log analysis.These areas have grown at a rapid rate, as Purna Virji, Senior Manager of Global Engagement at Microsoft, has spoken about this year.— Purna Virji @purnavirji Click To TweetThe inventor of the Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has shed some light on a future that I believe is likely to include a universal analytics system bigger in scope, more accurate, and more useful than any of those we already use.
Dragonfly, the Google project to develop a search engine that would satisfy China’s censorship requirements relies on pre-empting the appearance of search results that the Chinese authorities may find offensive.To do so, Google has used 265.com, a Chinese internet portal based in Beijing it purchased in 2008, two years before it pulled out of China, to gather user behaviour data, mainly search habits.The Google team then compare what the users would see if the same search terms were used on the uncensored Google and eliminate those sites that are blocked by China’s Great Firewall.The data is then fed into the prototype Dragonfly search engine to produce results that would be acceptable to the Chinese censorship system.Instead the engineering team is using search queries by Chinese speaking users in other markets like the US or south-eastern Asian countries, which would be very different from what the users behind the Great Firewall would be generating and therefore defeating the very purpose of a censored search engine.Though this decision may not have explicitly spelt the death penalty for Dragonfly, it is a very close one.
Google's Dragonfly project, an effort to bring a censored search engine to China, reportedly took a major blow after an internal confrontation over data privacy, according to a report Monday by The Intercept.The privacy team at Google confronted executives over data gathered from 265.com, a Beijing-based website that Google bought in 2008, according to the report.The data allowed engineers to see what search queries from mainland China might look like, so Google could improve the accuracy of the search results it might provide.But access to the data was shut down after Google's privacy team complained that it was left in the dark about the 265.com data.Shutting down access to the data has "effectively ended" the Dragonfly project, according to The Intercept.Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Toward the end of the three-and-a-half hour congressional hearing with Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Tuesday, Rep. Ted Lieu delivered a sharp rebuke of the entire reason for the hearing.Lieu was referring to previous sessions with executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google since the 2016 US election, in which big tech companies have been hauled before Congress to defend themselves against allegations of political bias.The last such hearings were with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in September.While Google has sent lower-tier executives to plead its case in the past -- including Chief Privacy Officer Keith Enright and YouTube Director of Public Policy Juniper Downs -- this marked the first time Google's boss appeared before legislators.Google wasn't intentionally filtering out information to suit any political agenda, Lieu argued, and there were more pressing issues at hand for one of the world's most powerful companies.Those include concerns about Google's massive data collection operations and its efforts in China, which could help an authoritarian government censor its people.
Also, none of you have any idea what you are talking aboutGoogle's CEO Sundar Pichai appeared in front of a Congressional hearing this morning in a session that revealed two main things: He is still going to take the company into China and Congresscritters have absolutely no idea what they are talking about when it comes to technology.The marathon three-and-a-half session was in-part fascinating and in-larger-part cringeworthy as Pichai picked his way around controversial issues and side-stepped serious questions over the search giant's actions, while remaining remarkably polite and accommodating in the face of incoherent rants and questions that bore no relation to objective reality.Most telling was Pichai response to a direct question about whether Google would abandon its secretive program to provide China with a special censored version of its search service, called DragonFly.DragonFly has caused the company a significant headache after its details were leaked and Google employees went publicly with their condemnation of what they see as assisting an authoritarian regime in its efforts to stamp out dissidents.Just as significant for many Google employees was the fact that the company kept it secret – going against its cultural norms of openness - and may even have misled or threatened employees to keep the project on track.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai signaled Tuesday that his company will take a cautious approach to going back to China, if it ever does.The search giant has been under persistent criticism for its Project Dragonfly, which would reportedly bring a censored search engine to China.The project has prompted employee protests and resignations, as well as criticism from Amnesty International.We don't have a search product there," Pichai said during a closely watched Congressional hearing Tuesday that focused on Google's privacy policies and business practices.He added that Google will be "fully transparent" on any future plans for going into China.Pichai left the door open to going through with such plans by highlighting Google's mission of providing people all over the world access to information.
In his first congressional hearing, later this week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai will take the hot seat on Capitol Hill, where's he expected to be grilled by lawmakers.The question is will they use their time to actually query one of the most powerful companies on the planet about some of the big issues -- like data privacy, China and censorship -- facing Google.There's the secretive Project Dragonfly, which will reportedly bring a censored search engine to China and which has prompted employee protests and resignations."If the focus is mostly on conservative bias, that becomes a highly political and not necessarily productive conversation."He tweeted that Google's search results are "rigged," saying the company is "suppressing voices of Conservatives."He also tweeted a video claiming Google promoted former President Barack Obama's State of the Union addresses every January but not his.
Earlier this week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified before the House Judiciary Committee on a wide-ranging set of issues, from alleged liberal bias in search results to YouTube moderation issues to the company’s plans to launch a search product for the Chinese market.The event was notable because it was Pichai’s first appearance before the Republican-controlled House, after a long string of such congressional hearings over the last two years, but also because it happens to coincide with one of Google’s most contentious moments in its history.The company is facing employee revolt over its China plans and government contract work, as well as the threat of regulation and the unfounded but widespread belief that it unfairly punishes conservative viewpoints in its search rankings and other products.With Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin effectively out of the picture, it’s now up to Pichai to defend the company and forge a way forward.
Strike fund hits $200K as engineers prepare for actionInternal employee revolt at Google over its secretive plans to rollout a censored search engine in China continues to grow, with one employee publicly building a strike fund to support those opposed to the plan.Earlier this week, internal dissent to the DragonFly project – which would allow Chinese authorities to both censor search results and track search requests back to individual users – burst out publicly in an open letter.According to one report, the project lead - Google’s head of operations in China, Scott Beaumont – attempted to bypass the normal security and privacy reviews for DragonFly and insisted on complete secrecy.Beaumont may also have misrepresented the position of Google co-founder Sergey Brin who famously pulled Google out of China in 2010 in response to interference by the Chinese government.Employees working on DragonFly were told that Brin was supportive of the new effort, but the former CEO has said that the first he heard about the project was when it was exposed in August.
As Google secretly developed a censored search engine for China, security and privacy teams were left out at key moments of the process, according to a report Thursday by The Intercept.The project, called Dragonfly, would reportedly blacklist certain terms the Chinese government found unfavorable, as well as tie search queries to users' phone numbers, allowing the government to more easily track searches.The person in charge of creating a privacy review for the Dragonfly project was an engineer named Yonatan Zunger, a 14-year Google veteran who left the company last year, according to The Intercept.When Zunger brought up human rights and privacy issues, Scott Beaumont, Google's head of operations in China, and other executives reportedly dismissed the concerns.Privacy and security teams were also reportedly excluded from meetings about the project."[Beaumont] did not feel that the security, privacy and legal teams should be able to question his product decisions, and maintained an openly adversarial relationship with them -- quite outside the Google norm," Zunger told the Intercept.
Ruben Sprich/Reuters These days, Sergey Brin is one of the wealthiest and most powerful people in tech.But back in 1996, Brin was a lot like any other Ph.D. candidate — on paper, at least.Brin's resume, which was last updated more than 20 years ago, is still available online.At the time Brin made it, he was working toward completing his Ph.D. at Stanford University.Brin is now worth $43.6 billion and serves as president of Google parent company Alphabet, but in the early days, he was more focused on making an algorithm for personalized movie recommendations, or finding a way to automatically detect cases of copyright infringements.Brin was no slacker — he had five internships in three years and had already been published twice — but is somewhat lacking in the style department.
Google employees are taking the next step in protesting Dragonfly, a controversial search project for the Chinese market.Over 90 Google employees, mostly software engineers, joined with Amnesty International on Tuesday to publish a letter demanding that the tech powerhouse cancel the project.Google has said little about Dragonfly, but the project would reportedly bring a censored search engine to China, and make it possible to connect users' search queries to their phone numbers, enabling the Chinese government to more easily track searches.A Google spokesperson responded with a previous statement the company had made about the project: "We've been investing for many years to help Chinese users, from developing Android, through mobile apps such as Google Translate and Files Go, and our developer tools.Google has been roiled in recent months by reports about Project Dragonfly, eight years after initially retreating from the country.At the time of the departure, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who grew up in the Soviet Union, cited the "totalitarianism" of Chinese policies.
The Google Walkout organizers told Recode's Kara Swisher about the "disastrous" internal meeting which sparked the mass protest over sexual harassment.The so-called TGIF meetings are hosted by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, where any employee can ask any question.YouTube exec Claire Stapleton said management's "dismissive" approach to questions about a New York Times exposé on sexual misconduct at Google was a turning point.An organizer behind the mass Google staff walkout over sexual misconduct has vividly described the disastrous all-hands meeting which prompted the protest.Googlers Claire Stapleton, Meredith Whittaker, Erica Anderson, Celie O'Neil-Hart, Stephanie Parker, and Amr Gaber told Kara Swisher's Recode Decode podcast about the events leading up to the Google Walkout, in which 20,000 employees left their desk in protest at sexual harassment.The protest related to a New York Times exposé, which revealed that Android inventor Andy Rubin was among a number of senior executives to be accused of sexual misconduct.