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Google, Apple Call Workers' Race & Gender Trade Secrets

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the no-using-face-recognition dept.

Google 554

theodp writes "The Mercury News reports that Google, whose stated mission is to make the world's information universally accessible, says the race and gender of its work force is a trade secret that cannot be released. So do Apple, Yahoo, Oracle, and Applied Materials. The five companies waged a successful 18-month FOIA battle with the Merc, convincing federal regulators who collect the data that its release would cause 'commercial harm' by potentially revealing the companies' business strategy to competitors. Law professor John Sims called the objections — the details of which the Dept. of Labor declined to share — 'absurd.' Many industry peers see the issue differently — Intel, Cisco, eBay, AMD, Sanmina, and Sun agreed to allow the DOL to provide the requested info. 'There's nothing to hide, in our view,' said a spokesman for Intel. Some observers note it's not the first time Google has declined to put a number on its vaunted diversity — in earlier Congressional testimony, Google's top HR exec dodged the question of how many African-American employees the company had."

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I'm pretty sure (4, Insightful)

jra (5600) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164738)

the EEOC and Congress will see it differently.

Wonder what *else* Congress will ask while they've got them on the stand...

Re:I'm pretty sure (5, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164798)

Google just doesn't want to be subjected to draconian and racist equal opportunity laws or quotas.

I'm pretty sure they are hiring people based on merit and technical ability, not race or color.

Re:I'm pretty sure (4, Insightful)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164840)

In Soviet Russia they kept track of how many Jews people were hiring, just to make sure they stayed in line. Here they're trying to keep tabs on the Blacks. Good intentions be damned, this just doesn't smell good.

Re:I'm pretty sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165212)

In Soviet Russia they kept track of how many Jews people were hiring, just to make sure they stayed in line. Here they're trying to keep tabs on the Blacks. Good intentions be damned, this just doesn't smell good.

This isn't Soviet Russia comrade. Things smell different here.

Re:I'm pretty sure (5, Funny)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165306)

In Soviet Russia...

Ha ha ha! Wait, that's not funny... Did you mean something like "In Soviet Russia, diversity tracks you!"?

Re:I'm pretty sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31164848)

So in other words, they are hiring asians and russians. :p

Re:I'm pretty sure (5, Interesting)

Renraku (518261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164984)

They probably want to pick the most qualified worker rather than the most politically correct one. If they end up with an entire workforce full of white employees, perhaps an investigation should be done as to why there are no other qualified candidates in the area.

Re:I'm pretty sure (5, Insightful)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165150)

If I had mod points I would mod you up. Equal opportunity is flawed because it is based on a flawed assumption of equal aptitude. If you think about it just a little you'll realize how applying this at a business level instead of immediately at kindergarten level is doomed to do more harm than good.

Re:I'm pretty sure (1)

taoye (1456551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165214)

Equal opportunity is not flawed... everybody should have the equal *opportunity* to work for Google. Should everybody actually get hired equally? No, absolutely not... that should depend entirely on aptitude, effort, suitability, etc.

Re:I'm pretty sure (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165252)

That was rather GP's point. Rather than making unqualified individuals requirements due to quota, you try and work on finding out why certain segments are unqualified and work from the bottom up, eg. from the start of schooling.

Re:I'm pretty sure (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165416)

Rather than making unqualified individuals requirements due to quota, you try and work on finding out why certain segments are unqualified and work from the bottom up, eg. from the start of schooling.

You're assuming that the individuals from certain races are actually unqualified, as opposed to not being hired because of racism. Equal opportunity means that you check for racism first, before trying grand social experiments because of an assumption that certain races are inferior.

Re:I'm pretty sure (2, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165406)

"Equal opportunity" in education (grants/scholarships/financial aid) is not necessarily flawed.

"Equal opportunity" in the workplace irrespective of the requirements is flawed. I shouldn't have to hire a less-qualified person of one particular ethnicity over a more-qualified white person because I have to fill a quota.

The Wayans Bros. did a brilliant episode on this subject where Shawn Wayans was hired at a prestigious company. Despite his qualifications in the field, all he did was sit at a desk all day to sharpen pencils because he was there simply to fill the quota so the company could continue to get federal contracts. Ultimately, he screwed over the company at the last minute by quitting - thereby not meeting their quota and thus not being eligible for government contracts.

If it were the other way around - if a company had to hire a certain percentage of white people - it would certainly bother me in numerous ways if I was hired based on my skin color/nationality rather than my ability. Aside from the fact that it brings one's own abilities and prospects as an employee in question ("Was I hired because I'm qualified or was I hired to fill a quota?"), it's also downright insulting. The only situation within which I wouldn't give a damn is if I were jobless and needed the money. Then I would be happy for any work whatsoever. (That, however, is a situation universal to every nationality/culture/ethnic group out there.

Re:I'm pretty sure (2, Interesting)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165402)

Perhaps their numbers are skewed towards asians & indians. Who knows.

Re:I'm pretty sure (2, Insightful)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164988)

Nothing good can come out of this, "equal opportunity laws" encourage slack and forced hires.

so if google does no evil (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165020)

why do they wish to compete unfairly with other companies burdened with equal opportunity laws?

Re:I'm pretty sure (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165014)

Look asshole: it's 2010. The President of the fucking United States is an oreo. you may not like it, but we're living in a post-racial society. And that means it's ok to hire dark skinned people but only if they don't have a negro accent. Or at least get some stock photos of a token darkie, it will make your company look "hip" and "with it".

Re:I'm pretty sure (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165120)

What? "Google doesn't want to be subject to inconvenient laws" is not an excuse! Whether or not you think the laws are fair, it is certainly not acceptable to call the numbers trade secrets that could potentially reveal the companies' business strategy to competitors.

This is basically a slap in Congress's face. Known in the biz as "a stupid move."

Re:I'm pretty sure (0, Flamebait)

electrons_are_brave (1344423) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165184)

Google just doesn't want to be subjected to draconian and racist equal opportunity laws or quotas.

I'm pretty sure they are hiring people based on merit and technical ability, not race or color.

Sigh. The standard excuse for racist and sexist employment practices. Because we all know that if an employer employs on the basis of "merit" and "technical ability", women and African Americans will be largely absent given that they lack both and can be trained in neither.

Yeah, yeah, laws made to conteract bigoted employers are "draconian" and "racist". I'm surprised you didn't raise the point about how it's white men who are the underclass these days.

Posts like your's show why these laws are needed.

Re:I'm pretty sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165294)

Sigh. The standard excuse for racist and sexist employment practices. Because we all know that if an employer employs on the basis of "merit" and "technical ability", women and African Americans will be largely absent given that they lack both and can be trained in neither.

(...)

Posts like your's show why these laws are needed.

...Thank you. But, of course, look at the website you're posting on. The bigotry (and sexism) on this site is usually pretty obvious, especially to someone who's non-white.

Ha. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31164742)

This just means that Google only employs white males

Re:Ha. (-1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165080)

And Chinks. Plenty of Chinks with loyalty to the motherland. The dirty little secret of the recent corporate hacks. You can take the Chinaman out of China, but you cannot take China out of the Chinaman.

AHEM! (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165164)

*cough* you forgot to post anonymously *cough*

First (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31164744)

First PSOT?

Re:First (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31164754)

first reply

Translation (5, Insightful)

base3 (539820) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164750)

Our numbers don't look very good. After all, didn't a Google executive pretty much tell us that if we've nothing to hide we've nothing to fear?

Re:Translation (2, Funny)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165068)

After all, didn't a Google executive pretty much tell us that if we've nothing to hide we've nothing to fear

Absolutely. If only Google had said that the reason it didn't want the data released was to protect the privacy of their staff. Then they might have managed to claw back some street cred.

My theory is that in an effort to reduce workplace distractions, the majority of their staff have no sexual organs at all. Google simply wants to protect them from embarrassment, even though the staff have literally have nothing to hide!

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165146)

No, it was Neil and Chris. [youtube.com]

Of course they fought it. (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164762)

Nothing good (from the perspective of the companies involved) could come from the release of the data. Only harm would be likely to result. If the data didn't show anything the Mercury-News could capitalize on for a story about those evil racist sexist tech firms, nothing at all would come of it; that's the best case scenario.

Alternatively (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165094)

The issue isn't that they're hiring exclusively white people. But that they are hiring almost exclusively non-whites outside of the country.

Wrong (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165226)

If nothing came of it, that would be a defacto admission on the part of the Mercury-News that Google is within the norm for hiring diversity. It wouldn't be front page news, but it would be something that Google could point to if the question ever comes up again. By clamming up, Google is only inviting speculation. By citing an absurd reason like trade secrets, they are inviting skepticism.

Business Strategy? (0, Flamebait)

mlawrence (1094477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164770)

Is Google saying their business strategy actually differs based on the people they employ? In this context, how is that not racist?

Re:Business Strategy? (3, Insightful)

jra (5600) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164856)

Well, let's be clear: "we're going to hire the smartest people, even if they're "white" and male" is *not* racist, but will probably get them in trouble anyway.

(As Carlin notes: "Indians are very dark 'white people'. What's that all about?")

Re:Business Strategy? (1)

electrons_are_brave (1344423) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165246)

Well, let's be clear: "we're going to hire the smartest people, even if they're "white" and male" is *not* racist, but will probably get them in trouble anyway.

Have you ever heard anyone saying that other than when they are making an excuse for having all white men in a workplace?

Re:Business Strategy? (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165364)

Yeah, I have. Such as when a company has had a race-blind hiring procedure put in place and this is what happens.

Re:Business Strategy? (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164978)

Is Google saying their business strategy actually differs based on the people they employ? In this context, how is that not racist?

No,

What they are saying is that by looking at the racial makeup of Google employees you can figure out what they are going to be doing next, or what markets they are moving into next, or at least they use that information to figure that out about their competitors.

Re:Business Strategy? (1)

mlawrence (1094477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165022)

Micheas, so isn't that saying that a certain race of people are better at moving the company in a different direction than another race of people? That is racist. Markets is a different story I guess. Hiring a thousand female Chinese could also mean they are going into the marriage business. :)

Re:Business Strategy? (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165262)

If you are planning to expand in India, you may start by hiring a lot of Indians. People who understand the culture, speak the language, may have family and are more willing to travel. At least I think that's the point he's making.

Personally it doesn't surprise me that two companies who have the most elitist hiring practices potentially have the most embarassing diversity secrets. I don't believe it's because they're racist, it's because the monoculture they're creating selects a particular group of people. If you want to object to their hiring practices, get off the race card...question whether they, or any company, really know what they want/need to any great detail. I doubt it.

Dr. King would be disgusted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31164774)

...to see so many focused on the color of skin, rather than the content of character.

It's not the white males they're hiding. (5, Insightful)

base3 (539820) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164782)

It's the H1Bs.

Re:It's not the white males they're hiding. (4, Interesting)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164844)

It's the H1Bs.

Someone please mod this up! A friend of mine works at Apple, and all her co-workers who are SW developers are from IT contracting outfits in India (yes, they're all Indian, too). She couldn't name a single developer who wasn't a contractor (even the non-Indian was a contractor).

Re:It's not the white males they're hiding. (1, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165128)

Apple outsources their internal IT work, and the Indian vendors tend to be the low bidders. Product development is a different story.

-jcr

Re:It's not the white males they're hiding. (4, Insightful)

Helen O'Boyle (324127) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164990)

It's the H1Bs.

I don't think that's what's going on, because the government already makes H1B statistics available. They can't be hiding something that's already out there in plain sight. If you want to know how many H1B's have been granted to your least favorite employer, you can look it up! True, the statistics are a couple years behind the current year, but the statistics are THERE.

Take a look at Microsoft's for example, and take a look at the salaries offered (for those of you who know MS salary levels). And then factor in a good portion of Wipro and other Indian contracting firms requesting H1B's for positions in Redmond, as also likely working at MS. Given how desperate MS is for staff that they'd be importing that many workers, it doesn't make sense that there'd be more than 1-2% tech unemployment in this area, but there is. Still, I don't think that's what Google and Apple don't want others finding out.

Google/Apple/others MIGHT think (for example) that they're carefully crafting their image to every country they serve, and that a country hearing google only has 7 people on staff from that particular country might feel a bit put out and find reason to, maybe, make a search deal with a competitor who offers more employment to its countrymen. This would be the kind of logic that would lead someone to claim that divulging that information would be too much of a window into strategy.

Gender, I can't explain as easily. But one look around the annual Microsoft "MVP Conference" occurring in downtown Bellevue, WA this week (near MS) tells me that if they're primarily male, they're not the only ones. So I'm not sure why it'd be an issue, except that it could be as simple as preventing someone from being successful with the argument that, "If you divulged your gender mix, why won't you divulge your racial mix?".

Re:It's not the white males they're hiding. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165344)

H1Bs don't apply to contractors.

Re:It's not the white males they're hiding. (2, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165398)

I'm too lazy to do it again, but if you pull the numbers and do the math, the number of H1Bs that Microsoft employs is a rather small percentage of their total workforce.

In other words, Microsoft employs a ton of H1B visa holders because it has an absolutely massive overall number of employees. It's not particularly surprising that a company that engages in product development and basic research would require some foreign expertise. (Supporting this theory is that Microsoft's H1B applications have reportedly dropped at a rate that's roughly inversely proportional to the unemployment rate)

That all said, the H1B "problem" seems to be wildly blown out of proportion. The current law allows for 65,000 visas to be issued each year. In a country of 300 million people, 65,000 is really just a drop in the bucket (0.02% of the population, 0.04% of the labor force). Accounting for the total number of H1B holders is a bit more difficult, but even at 1 million (a wildly generous estimate), would still be less than 1% of the total workforce.

Also don't forget that there are plenty of Americans who work overseas. A degree of international mobility in the labor market is generally a good thing, as long as it's kept under reasonable control.

Find something else to complain about.

Re:It's not the white males they're hiding. (1)

Virtual_Raider (52165) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165414)

I think yours is the best post of the lot so far. Also, its a very well documented fact that the technology industries are primarily male (for whatever reason, don't get distracted). But a news outfit digging for dirt would be able to point at their stats and go "AHA! Females/Blacks/Whites/Browns/Yellows/Reds/Greens/Blues make up less than X percentage, foul play!"

Re:It's not the white males they're hiding. (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165302)

Huh? Why would they need/want to hide their legal non-citizen employees? Was that an anti-immigration jab?

Why does race or gender matter? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164786)

If Google and Apple want to succeed in their field, doesn't it behoove them to hire the best and brightest? Shouldn't they be able to do so, even if it results in skewed racial statistics?

It's pretty bad that the government has created an atmosphere where people are ashamed of acting in their own self-interest, even when those actions do nothing to harm others.

Re:Why does race or gender matter? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31164832)

This make sense in a way, they would be shooting themselves in the foot by not hiring a certain group because of prejudices. At the same time, I can't help but think that their might be some subconscious stuff going on. What a mean is, it might not be malicious but the racism might be there.

Re:Why does race or gender matter? (2, Insightful)

jra (5600) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164876)

Well, the customary argument in favor of Affirmative Action -- which is what you're talking about there -- is "we need to help them along because their minority screwed them, going through primary school". Whether it applies in secondary education, it *certainly* doesn't apply in post-secondary, and I don't see that it applies on the job either.

That guy passed out on the floor of the burning house doesn't care that because you're female, you can't meet the weight-lifting requirements of the firefighter exam. He just cares whether you get him out.

Re:Why does race or gender matter? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165374)

No, the customary argument in favor of Affirmative Action is not that minorities need a handout. It's that fully qualified members of minority groups are both actively and passively discriminated against in employment, a fact which has been proven over and over again.

And enough already with the red herring of the mythical incompetent female firefighter. Where are all the factual horror stories about the female firefighters letting people die in fires because her widdle arms can't carry more than a latte? I'm sure you think that the fact that no such stories exist is proof of a big liberal coverup.

Re:Why does race or gender matter? (2, Insightful)

electrons_are_brave (1344423) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165386)

That guy passed out on the floor of the burning house doesn't care that because you're female, you can't meet the weight-lifting requirements of the firefighter exam. He just cares whether you get him out.

Relax, the guy passed out on the floor of the burning building will be saved! All firefighters have to pass fitness and strength testing. http://www.topendsports.com/testing/forces-fire-fighters.htm [topendsports.com]

What you seem to be saying is that ALL women should be excluded from firefighting just because MOST women couldn't pass the entry exams. Most men couldn't pass the exams either.

Sure, given the natural differences between the average man and woman, men will always outnumber women in jobs needing strength.

But you shouldn't apply infomation about the average man or women to every man or women. It's unfair and discriminatory

Re:Why does race or gender matter? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164924)

Theoretically yes, if a company has sufficient competition to deal with, it doesn't make any sense what so ever to hire based on prejudice. However, I would imagine that predjudices would become significant factors in the social contacts one often needs to build in order to climb the corporate ladder. That could very well skew the hiring demographic.

Re:Why does race or gender matter? (1)

electrons_are_brave (1344423) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165270)

If Google and Apple want to succeed in their field, doesn't it behoove them to hire the best and brightest? Shouldn't they be able to do so, even if it results in skewed racial statistics?

Why do you think that racial statistics would be skewed if the best and brightest were selected?

Evil (1)

soundguy (415780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164814)

Nobody gives a rat's ass what color they are. The important metric is their EVIL QUOTIENT!

Um, yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31164824)

Yeah, every Google employee I've ever met (~50 or so) was a white male. A lot of them are European immigrants, but all white.

Despicable journalists (4, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164850)

So, let me get this straight. A media company wages an 18-month lawsuit against private companies, trying to force them to disclose private data. The media company is doing this purely out of malice, as there is no good that can come from release of this data. On what planet is this sort of thing acceptable?

Oh, and if anyone says, "Journalists are a sort of magical, pure source of good in our society, white knights protecting the people," that attitude belongs back in the Cronkite era.

Re:Despicable journalists (1, Insightful)

jra (5600) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164886)

Yes, it does.

Shame we're not *in* that era.

I gather Russia is allowing immigration these days; see ya.

Re:Despicable journalists (4, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164980)

[quote]A media company wages an 18-month lawsuit against private companies[/quote]

I don't think that's true, it looks to me that the lawsuit is against the regulators, not the private companies themselves. The FOIA doesn't apply against companies directly.

Besides, because Google claims it is diverse on their own site, the only damage would come is if they're lying about it and the slide shows are just tokenism, all the photos appear to be of the same group of 20 or so people. Of which I would shed croc tears if it's an exposed lie.

Re:Despicable journalists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165046)

So, let me get this straight. A media company wages an 18-month lawsuit against private companies, trying to force them to disclose private data. The media company is doing this purely out of malice, as there is no good that can come from release of this data. On what planet is this sort of thing acceptable?

Oh, and if anyone says, "Journalists are a sort of magical, pure source of good in our society, white knights protecting the people," that attitude belongs back in the Cronkite era.

No good can come of this? I wonder how successful Google would be if more people decided that no good could come of openness and the dissemination of information. I can think of some good that would come of this: An analysis of why there are so few female engineers at these firms? Why a leading american companies are hiring very large amounts of foreign nationals?

In fact the only thing this could damage is Google's false "Don't be evil." image crap.

Re:Despicable journalists (2, Informative)

micheas (231635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165062)

No you got it wrong.

What the merc is suing for is the Government data about the ethnic makeup of Googles employees.

Google is demanding that that Government data not be released to the Merc.

Even if Google is correct, it is still sort of hard to see how Google fighting this will result in anything good for google.

The very high importance that Google puts on college GPA probably skews the hiring process away from more entrepreneurial cultures and towards the more academically oriented ones.

Trade Secret? (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164852)

Ignoring the potentially messy, and unbounded, arguments over whether or not anybody should be bothering to collect these data, what sort of "trade secret" could they possibly be?

Does Google not want Microsoft to scoop them on their new blacksploitation search engine? Would knowing how many women work at Oracle be of the slightest use to a competitor?

Even if the data were valuable, they are nothing that you couldn't easily enough gather with a statistics grad and a pair of binoculars and a few days casing the relevant corporate campuses(not to mention the more exotic methods: With modern analytical chemistry, the threshold for what you can detect is pretty impressive. You could probably get an approximate gender ratio for a given building just by sampling the sewer outflow for excreted hormones. You could probably also gauge morale: If you know roughly how many people are working there, you can watch the concentrations metabolites for various drugs and get a rough aggregate sense of what, and how much, the building is on. More SSRIs and anxiolytics? Bad times. More cocaine? Ambiguous, or 80's flashback...) You can sample people for sex or color pretty quickly, and accurately enough, from a fair distance. If the data were worth more than peanuts, it'd already be available.

Re:Trade Secret? (1)

jra (5600) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164900)

> Does Google not want Microsoft to scoop them on their new blaxploitation search engine?

Oh, that's nice. Best comment all week.

Re:Trade Secret? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31164992)

Damn. That should read "you can watch the concentrations of metabolites".

Also, the other possibility for high cocaine numbers is that you are currently spying on Broadcom [theregister.co.uk] ...

Re:Trade Secret? (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164996)

Ignoring the potentially messy, and unbounded, arguments over whether or not anybody should be bothering to collect these data, what sort of "trade secret" could they possibly be?

Signs of racial or sexist hiring practices. The information wouldn't be as much of value to corporate secrets as much as hiring practices and public backlash.

Have a lot of people from a certain ethnic background could be viewed as hiring many people with H1B visa which would reflect very poorly on the company during this recession. Would been seen as giving even more jobs away when they are wanted the most. Or also could be a sign of racial profiling to only want to hire those of a 'preferred' racial background/gender of the hiring staff's preferences. Public image is a very dangerous thing to toy with.

Re:Trade Secret? (3, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165024)

Does Google not want Microsoft to scoop them on their new blacksploitation search engine?

Too late. If you search for "Shaft" in Google, the top result is the IMDB page for the 2000 remake, which no one wants to see. Bing brings up the wikipedia page for the 1971 original.

Re:Trade Secret? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165288)

I thought the blacksploitation search engine was bling.com?

Re:Trade Secret? (2, Insightful)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165098)

Google is basically stipulating that race and gender are influential in its hiring process. Seems like they've backed themselves in to a corner here.

Re:Trade Secret? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165340)

They have been exposed.
If your founded via the CIA and now have legal links to the NSA, do you get to ignore more US laws?
Intel, Cisco, eBay, AMD, Sanmina, and Sun provide the requested info.

Re:Trade Secret? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165326)

Would knowing how many women work at Oracle be of the slightest use to a competitor?

Yes. Hypothetical example: lots of women work ar Oracle, lots of competitors' men flock to Oracle. It's not rocket science - and when you're a socially-inept nerd "on the floor" even a light whiff of perfume or floral hair conditioner every now and then makes all the difference.

Google's CEO said it best (4, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164854)

If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

What is Google hiding?

Re:Google's CEO said it best (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165076)

they're hiring competent people instead of ethnic people. ... oops ...

they shouldn't be doing that.

There is no such thing as race (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31164870)

I can't stand answering this questions on various government forms. Variance within racial groups is larger than variance between racial groups.

Why don't they just ask you what shade your skin is and what your hair looks like? That's really what they want to know; and that's when you realize how absurd the question of "what race are you?" is.

Re:There is no such thing as race (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165142)

How about dying your hair blue, just to mess with their stupid forms and their limited choices?

Re:There is no such thing as race (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165188)

How about dying your hair blue,

And when they ask you your race, don't forget to write "smurf".

Re:There is no such thing as race (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165382)

And "Invisible Pink Unicorn" for the religion.

process of elimination game: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31164880)

probably not 90% blacks.
Next guess:_

Database: SV Company Workforce Diversity (1)

theodp (442580) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164936)

Mercury News: [mercurynews.com] This database includes that Labor Department data for Santa Clara and San Mateo County-based workers at Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Advanced Micro Devices, Cisco Systems, SYNNEX Corp., Calpine Corp., Intel, eBay, Sanmina Corp., and Solectron Corp. The database covers the years 1999, 2000, 2003 and 2005.

we MUST hide (and protect) our african americans! (1)

Sri Ramkrishna (1856) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165010)

Why hide how many african americans you have? In the tech field there aren't that many AA engineers around. By empirical observation, I've noticed that most AA tend to get into management. They have the ability, just no interest. Partially, I believe it is because of the inherent geek culture which I think is very white male. Movie quotes, media stuff and what not. For most racial types including the white female, it isn't particularly interesting. If you're brought up in a mostly black culture, I would think it would be pretty disconcerting. Most of us being pack animals you generally want to go where the herd is. It works well with the other racial types since there are ample representation of the other races. Indians, asians, and africans have good representations and can overcome the geek culture.

Re:we MUST hide (and protect) our african american (2, Insightful)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165190)

I'm 35. My father was actively discouraged from pursuing a career in architecture by hostile highschool teachers (he now has a PHD in architecture). Based on a lot of replies (not yours), it takes more than a math genius to understand why there are still very few African American engineers. African Americans remain a numeric minority, only one generation (at best) removed from being told by their own teachers that they are too stupid to aspire to careers like engineering.

Re:we MUST hide (and protect) our african american (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165438)

Good for him.

But if those asshole high school teachers had succeeded in keeping him out of architecture school, it would be their responsibility; NOT that of any architecture firm years down the road. Get it?

If you'd ever worked for tech companies in the Bay Area you'd know: They hire only the best. If you ARE the best, you can be any race, flamingly gay, sport a six-inch mohawk, have steel loops hanging from the dangly bits, and come to work in your bathrobe; as long as you produce. If you're NOT the best, then you can GTFO. And they don't care why you're not the best, and they're not to blame for what did or did not happen to you in high school.

Re:we MUST hide (and protect) our african american (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165206)

But how would a company know the race of the people working for them? I would certainly refuse to answer a question about my race. It should have nothing to do with my work. What if a light skinned person identified themselves as African American? Should an instrument be used to measure their albedo? Why should anybody care? I don't.

Re:we MUST hide (and protect) our african american (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165286)

As a black nerd, I agree that geek culture can be a turn off. I was always into science and math when I was growing up, but in junior high and high school I just didn't want to be around the other kids with the same interests in science. They were just so.. white and nerdy [youtube.com] . But not in a funny way. We just didn't have the same social interests. It wasn't until I got to a mostly black university, that had black nerds with the same academic and social interests, that I could embrace my nerdery.

They'll be furious (1)

dushkin (965522) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165016)

Consumers will be furious when they find out there are GIRLS working there!

Oompa-Loompas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165036)

I knew it! They have Oompa-Loompas! That explains a lot.

Re:Oompa-Loompas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165378)

Oompa loompa doompa-da-dee
If you are wise you will listen to me
Oompa loompa doompa-dee-do
I've got a court order restraining you
What do you get when you stick your schnozz in
a major search engine's top-secret biz?
Sniffing around for where their secrets are at
what do you think will come of that?
Oompa loompa doompa-dee-dar
If you're not nosy you will go far
Oompa loompa doompa-dee-dox
But if you're nosy you'll live in box
Oompa loompa lawyers will lay you out flat
Oompa loompa doompa-dee-dat

Big Deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165056)

I know I will be modded down into oblivion for this but in my recent 4th year upper year/graduate math classes at a very good math/cs university there is not a single black person amongst everyone (out of i would imagine 150 students spread over 4 400-level courses, two cross listed as graduate). and over the previous 3 years it was about the same. ditto for the CS courses I have taken. this is just plain fact. and can anyone tell me a famous black mathematician or computer scientist?

Re:Big Deal (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165130)

What about Gus Gorman in Superman 3?

Merc: SV Blacks, Latinos and Women Lose Ground (3, Informative)

theodp (442580) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165066)

Mercury News: [mercurynews.com] Blacks, Latinos and women lose ground at Silicon Valley tech companies

Mitch Hedberg (0)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165118)

"You know when people are talking about race and colour, and they say ‘I don’t care if he’s black, white, green or purple’? Wait a second... purple or green? I say we need to draw the line somewhere. Screw purple people! Unless they’re choking, in which case, help them.”

breakdown (3, Funny)

binarybum (468664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165166)

they just don't want us to know that it's about 40%borg and 15%greys

Good for them. (1)

i-like-burritos (1532531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165228)

Why should it matter anyway?

Why only tho focus only on black and hispanics??? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165234)

Instead of focusing on the overall diversity of the companies?

I live in Palo Alto and know several people who work for Apple, a handful at Google; and even interviewed at the latter a while back. And I can guarantee that for every black or hispanic that these companies "lost", they gained two asians, an indian, and a gay or lesbian.

The merc is a ridiculous provincial little rag. Everyone here knows it. And that's why they knock up sensationalist nonsence like this story.

Trust me; the klan and aryan brotherhood are NOT going to be successful recruiting in Santa Clara Valley.

Why should this even matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165236)

What's more important? That these companies deliver the highest quality product at the best price or that they hire the most from underrepresented groups? If minorities can't get a job based on their merits, they don't deserve it, plain and simple.

Hire based on qualifications (1, Insightful)

iPhr0stByt3 (1278060) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165266)

Black people have a different temperament than white people, women are sensitive and men are practical, and yes, younger people do learn faster, while older people have more wisdom. I'm sure there are some out there, but I have never met a black woman who likes working on computers... it's too nerdy ;-). Though we all have strengths to contribute, we are NOT all equal, so why should a commercial business be forced to hire equally? Hire based on qualifications and maximize peoples' strengths. Sorry if it doesn't look good on paper, but it benefits everyone.

Hired By Merit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165284)

Google cannot afford to hire by anything but merit. If they excluded all the brilliant black applicants as one of those links suggests, they would quickly be overtaken by their competitors because they hadn't hired the best. This is comparable to Jewish German physicists building the bomb for America.

It isn't happening.

This isn't racism. It's realism. If you believe otherwise, you're simply indulging in ignorance for the sake of politics.

Wow Google. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31165318)

|In earlier Congressional testimony, Google's top HR exec dodged the question of how many African-American employees the company had."

  It had a lots of Indians also, Do we not attempt to make Noise??
  and They work far better..
                We see some of them in presenting WAVE, Chrome, earth, and every Open source contri by Google etc etc.

Three hypotheses for imbalance in ethnicity (2, Interesting)

Animal Farm Pig (1600047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165338)

Let's pretend, for the sake of argument, that, if Google were to release statistics, those statistic would show some kind of imbalance in workforce based around ethnicity. I can see a few different possibilities for this.

Perhaps Google is racist in hiring. I doubt it.

Perhaps certain ethnic groups are inherently more capable of the kind of things needed to get a job with Google. I doubt this also.

Perhaps our society is structured in such a way that people born into certain ethnic groups are less likely to get the credentials and skills needed to get a job at Google. If this were the case, you'd likely also see disproportionate rates of unemployment, poverty, and incarceration based on ethnicity. Of course, that couldn't be the case. This is America, after all. We're a color-blind, post-racial society. Everyone is equal here.

So, that's what I can see. Since it can't be any of the three hypotheses I've suggested, it must be something else.

Equal Employment Policy. (1)

germansausage (682057) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165346)

Our equal employment policy is: hire smart people who work hard. Somehow, by paying no attention at all to diversity we now have a workforce of every sex, color, race, sexual orientation, and national origin imaginable. We plan to continue this policy.

As for Apple... (4, Funny)

doomy (7461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165412)

We all knew given the naming of iPad, that they had no women in their marketing/strategic decision making (all that synergy stuff) dept.

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