A senior former Google employee who quit over its controversial plans to launch a search engine in China painted a picture of a company whose upper echelons are obsessed with stopping leaks, to the exclusion of almost anything else.
Jack Poulson, a former researcher at the company, said that senior managers consider the prevention of leaks to be their “number one priority.”
In comments reported on Saturday by The Times of London, Poulson cited as an example of the anti-leak culture an an unnamed senior engineer taking the microphone at an all-hands meeting to yell “F— you leakers” at his colleagues.
He said that the campaign against leaking had become a way for Google to avoid tackling the reasons staff were leaking in the first place, including concerns over the Chinese search project, code-named Dragonfly, or work for the US military.
Poulson left Google in September over Dragonfly, and said he believed four other employees had done the same. Google declined to comment on his departure at the time.
He said, according to The Times: “The narrative is that leaking is bad and that the number one priority is to prevent any leaks.”
Poulson said that Google was not alone in trying to suppress employee revolts, pointing to similar movements at Microsoft and Amazon. He said the back-and-forth between workers and executives is not “going to be a short battle.”
Business Insider has reported previously on the culture of extreme secrecy at Google.