woman speaking with caption 'yep, i guess i'm older millennial... evey(sp) thing you put into a computer can be taken straight back out!'

@laurenselley/TikTok

‘Nothing is private’: TikToker who says she’s a former Google admin warns workers about work accounts

'I look up The Great Resignation up a lot - just to keep them on their toes.'

 

Braden Bjella

Internet Culture

Posted on Jul 12, 2022   Updated on Jul 12, 2022, 12:36 pm CDT

If your workplace gave you an account through Google, a TikToker who says she’s a former Google Drive administrator has a warning: Whatever you put in that account—whether it’s emails, photos, Google Drive documents, or anything else—is not private.

User Lauren (@laurenselley) recently shared this information on TikTok to viral success. In a video that now has over 56,000 views, she says that “everything single thing that you have been doing in your Google account gets transferred to your boss or your replacement or whoever is taking over for you” if you get fired or quit.

In short, that means that a company has access to all of the documents within someone’s company Google account, which can include things like email drafts, G-chats, and Google Drive uploads. This also reportedly applies to universities with student Google accounts. Furthermore, one does not have to leave the job or university for their administrators to obtain this access.

“I can get into any of it,” Lauren says. “Any of it!”

“Nothing is private,” she reiterates in the caption.

@laurenselley Reply to @mattflower nothing is private 😝 #projectmanager #projectmangaement #careertips #careeradvice #tech #softwaredevelopment #projectmanagertiktok ♬ Massive – Drake

While this may come as a surprise to some users, Google does not hide this policy. In a post on its help site, it echoes Lauren’s claims about administrator access.

“Your Google Workspace account can access the majority of Google products using the email address assigned to you by your administrator,” it notes. “It’s important to note that your administrator has access to any data you store in this account, including your email.”

An article on Mashable cites a blog post from ex-Google employee Martin Shelton, who detailed just how far this access can go.

“…Depending on the version of G Suite your company uses, your employer has access to practically every single thing you do on the platform,” the article reads. This includes seeing files you’ve uploaded, when you’ve downloaded them, and more. It also includes having “the ability to read your draft emails live,” per the article.

On TikTok, users offered their thoughts on this revelation.

“That’s why the most I have looked up on a company computer that was not work related is the weather,” a commenter claimed. “I have my phone for everything else.”

“I work for a European company and all devices and accounts get a full wipe on their last day,” a second added. “Their privacy laws are so much stronger than ours!”

One worker joked about what they look up while on their work account.

“I look up The Great Resignation up a lot – just to keep them on their toes,” they said.

But for those paranoid about their boss finding something they wouldn’t like on their computer, Lauren has some advice: delete, delete, delete.

“To start, scrub your computer and email for anything you wouldn’t be comfortable with your boss reading,” she urged in a comment. “[And] delete the trash.”

Update 12:37pm CT, July 12: When reached for comment, Lauren shared with the Daily Dot her advice for those concerned about their workplace monitoring them.

“Assume anything on your work computer is being monitored,” she said. “And don’t put anything in writing you wouldn’t be comfortable with on the front page of the New York Times!”


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*First Published: Jul 12, 2022, 11:19 am CDT