Alphabet reportedly fires executive named in NYT sexual misconduct exposé

Google parent company Alphabet has fired a top executive at its X division who was named in a high-profile New York Times investigation into the company’s mishandling of sexual harassment claims, according to Axios. The executive, Rich DeVaul, held the title of “Director of Rapid Evaluation and Mad Science” at X, formerly known as Google X and the division responsible for Alphabet’s experimental “moonshots” projects like self-driving car unit Waymo. He did not receive an exit package of any sort, Axios reports.

The initial investigation primarily centered on Android co-founder Andy Rubin, who an employee accused of sexual assault in 2013. After Google investigated the claims and found them to be credible, Rubin left the company, but not before being awarded a $90 million exit package. Alphabet CEO Larry Page, who was aware of the allegations and the investigation’s findings, did not disclose publicly Rubin’s reason for leaving, saying in a statement at the time, “I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next.”

Prior to the Times investigation, it was known that Rubin had been accused of some form of sexual harassment, but the nature of the allegation and his exit package from Google were not known. Rubin has gone on to found Android phone maker Essential, which recently cut 30 percent of its work force and has cancelled plans to release a second-generation Essential Phone.

Rubin has denied the claims, writing in a tweet that the Times story contained “numerous inaccuracies about my employment at Google and wild exaggerations about my compensation.” He went on to say, “These false allegations are part of a smear campaign to disparage me during a divorce and custody battle. Also, I am deeply troubled that anonymous Google executives are commenting about my personnel file and misrepresenting the facts.”

In the Times story, DeVaul allegedly invited hardware engineer Star Simpson, who was interviewing to work at Google, to the art and culture festival Burning Man, telling her he and his wife were polyamorous. Simpson attended the festival in hopes it would improve her chances of getting hired — she brought her mother with her and “professional attire,” according to the Times. Yet DeVaul encouraged her to remove her clothing and asked to give her a massage.

Later on, Simpson learned that she did not get the job, and that DeVaul knew this when she chose to attend Burning Man. Simpson says she informed Google of this series of events two years later and was encouraged not to go public with it because “appropriate action” would be taken, yet DeVaul remained at the company. In a statement to the Times, DeVAul apologized for his “error of judgment” and claimed he thought Simpson had been aware that she did not get the job when she attended the festival.

DeVaul has been an employee of Alphabet since August 2011, when he joined the X lab’s Project Loon, an initiative to deliver wireless internet using high-altitude balloons, as a chief technical architect. DeVaul assumed his role at X two years later and remained in that position since. He left the company earlier today, Axios reports. Alphabet was not immediately available for comment.

In response to the initial Rubin story, Google CEO Sunday Pichai issued a statement saying the company had instituted a new program in 2015 to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. He said that the program, alongside improvements to its reporting policy and more hardline approaches to punishment, have resulted in 48 employees being fired for sexual harassment-related offenses in the last two years.

“We are dead serious about making sure we provide a safe and inclusive workplace. We want to assure you that we review every single complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct, we investigate and we take action,” Pichai wrote. “We are committed to ensuring that Google is a workplace where you can feel safe to do your best work, and where there are serious consequences for anyone who behaves inappropriately.”

Despite Pichai’s assurances, Google employees have reportedly been incensed by the Rubi revelations and at the company’s handling of such claims. Yesterday, BuzzFeed reported that hundreds of employees are planning a walkout to protest Google’s protection of high-profile male executives accused of sexual harassment.

“Personally, I’m furious,” a Google employee told BuzzFeed, requesting anonymity. “I feel like there’s a pattern of powerful men getting away with awful behavior towards women at Google‚ or if they don’t get away with it, they get a slap on the wrist, or they get sent away with a golden parachute, like Andy Rubin. And it’s a leadership of mostly men making the decisions about what kind of consequences to give, or not give.” The walkout is scheduled to take place tomorrow, and more than 200 people are confirmed to attend.

Update 10/30, 7:40PM ET: Added more context around Google’s response to the NYT investigation and reported plans for an employee walkout scheduled for Thursday, November 1st.

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Table of Contents

  1. Definitions used in this Policy
  2. Data protection principles we follow
  3. What rights do you have regarding your Personal Data
  4. What Personal Data we gather about you
  5. How we use your Personal Data
  6. Who else has access to your Personal Data
  7. How we secure your data
  8. Information about cookies
  9. Contact information

1.Definitions

Personal Data – any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.
Processing – any operation or set of operations which is performed on Personal Data or on sets of Personal Data.
Data subject – a natural person whose Personal Data is being Processed.
Child – a natural person under 16 years of age.
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2.Data Protection Principles

We promise to follow the following data protection principles:

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  • Processing is limited to the purpose. Our Processing activities fit the purpose for which Personal Data was gathered.
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  • Processing is limited with a time period. We will not store your personal data for longer than needed.
  • We will do our best to ensure the accuracy of data.
  • We will do our best to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of data.

3.Data Subject’s rights

The Data Subject has the following rights:

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  3. Right to rectification – meaning you have the right to request rectification or erasure of your Personal Data that is inaccurate or incomplete.
  4. Right to erasure – meaning in certain circumstances you can request for your Personal Data to be erased from our records.
  5. Right to restrict processing – meaning where certain conditions apply, you have the right to restrict the Processing of your Personal Data.
  6. Right to object to processing – meaning in certain cases you have the right to object to Processing of your Personal Data, for example in the case of direct marketing.
  7. Right to object to automated Processing – meaning you have the right to object to automated Processing, including profiling; and not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated Processing. This right you can exercise whenever there is an outcome of the profiling that produces legal effects concerning or significantly affecting you.
  8. Right to data portability – you have the right to obtain your Personal Data in a machine-readable format or if it is feasible, as a direct transfer from one Processor to another.
  9. Right to lodge a complaint – in the event that we refuse your request under the Rights of Access, we will provide you with a reason as to why. If you are not satisfied with the way your request has been handled please contact us.
  10. Right for the help of supervisory authority – meaning you have the right for the help of a supervisory authority and the right for other legal remedies such as claiming damages.
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4.Data we gather

Information you have provided us with
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Information automatically collected about you
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Information from our partners
We gather information from our trusted partners with confirmation that they have legal grounds to share that information with us. This is either information you have provided them directly with or that they have gathered about you on other legal grounds. See the list of our partners here.

Publicly available information
We might gather information about you that is publicly available.

5.How we use your Personal Data

We use your Personal Data in order to:

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  • enhance your customer experience;
  • fulfil an obligation under law or contract;

We use your Personal Data on legitimate grounds and/or with your Consent.

On the grounds of entering into a contract or fulfilling contractual obligations, we Process your Personal Data for the following purposes:

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On the ground of legitimate interest, we Process your Personal Data for the following purposes:

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As long as you have not informed us otherwise, we consider offering you products/services that are similar or same to your purchasing history/browsing behaviour to be our legitimate interest.

With your consent we Process your Personal Data for the following purposes:

  • to send you newsletters and campaign offers (from us and/or our carefully selected partners);
  • for other purposes we have asked your consent for;

We Process your Personal Data in order to fulfil obligation rising from law and/or use your Personal Data for options provided by law. We reserve the right to anonymise Personal Data gathered and to use any such data. We will use data outside the scope of this Policy only when it is anonymised. We save your billing information and other information gathered about you for as long as needed for accounting purposes or other obligations deriving from law, but not longer than 1 year.

We might process your Personal Data for additional purposes that are not mentioned here, but are compatible with the original purpose for which the data was gathered. To do this, we will ensure that:

  • the link between purposes, context and nature of Personal Data is suitable for further Processing;
  • the further Processing would not harm your interests and
  • there would be appropriate safeguard for Processing.

We will inform you of any further Processing and purposes.

6.Who else can access your Personal Data

We do not share your Personal Data with strangers. Personal Data about you is in some cases provided to our trusted partners in order to either make providing the service to you possible or to enhance your customer experience. We share your data with:

Our processing partners:

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Our business partners:

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Connected third parties:

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We only work with Processing partners who are able to ensure adequate level of protection to your Personal Data. We disclose your Personal Data to third parties or public officials when we are legally obliged to do so. We might disclose your Personal Data to third parties if you have consented to it or if there are other legal grounds for it.

7.How we secure your data

We do our best to keep your Personal Data safe. We use safe protocols for communication and transferring data (such as HTTPS). We use anonymising and pseudonymising where suitable. We monitor our systems for possible vulnerabilities and attacks.

Even though we try our best we can not guarantee the security of information. However, we promise to notify suitable authorities of data breaches. We will also notify you if there is a threat to your rights or interests. We will do everything we reasonably can to prevent security breaches and to assist authorities should any breaches occur.

If you have an account with us, note that you have to keep your username and password secret.

Children

We do not intend to collect or knowingly collect information from children. We do not target children with our services.

8.Cookies and other technologies we use

We use cookies and/or similar technologies to analyse customer behaviour, administer the website, track users’ movements, and to collect information about users. This is done in order to personalise and enhance your experience with us.

A cookie is a tiny text file stored on your computer. Cookies store information that is used to help make sites work. Only we can access the cookies created by our website. You can control your cookies at the browser level. Choosing to disable cookies may hinder your use of certain functions.

We use cookies for the following purposes:

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Last Update: May 25, 2018

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