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Google's Evil NDA

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the not-to-be-confused-with-DNA dept.

Google 452

An anonymous reader writes "Google's motto is "Don't Be Evil" — but they sure have an evil non-disclosure agreement! In order to be considered for employment there, you must sign an agreement that forbids you to 'mention or imply the name of Google' in public ever again. Further, you can't tell anyone you interviewed there, or what they offered you, and you possibly sign away your rights to reverse-engineer any of Google's code, ever. And this NDA never expires. Luckily, someone has posted excerpts from the NDA before he signed it and had to say silent forever." At the bottom of the posting are links to a few other comments on the Web about Google's NDA, including a ValleyWag post that reproduces it in its entirety.

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If you think that is evil (2, Insightful)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972329)

you should look at what people on Wall Street agree to. It's really not so unusual. And you are always free not to work there - they don't owe you anything.

Re:If you think that is evil (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972511)

first of all, just because it is 'worse' on Wall Street, doesn't mean this is good.
Second of all, Yuour arguement is based on a fallcy. Basically it assumes there is equall opportunity everywhere at all times, AND nt everyone will make you sign something similiar.

Freedom is about choice, and chosing between eating ar dying isn't really the freedom the founding fathers had in mind.

There was a time in California where in order to work, you had to sign a non-compete. Everyone was doing it, and it effectivlly became 'you can never work for anyone else again.'

The up shot is now non-competes are not valid. there are a few exceptions.

NDAs are starting to become that way. 'You can never talk about what you do here' effectivly kills a career.
I know, I have several years on my resume I can't talk abuot except in the most vague ways.

Re:If you think that is evil (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972653)

"I know, I have several years on my resume I can't talk abuot except in the most vague ways."

Yeah, that part of your 'career' where you were in jail for climbing into the endangered bird sanctuary at your local zoo and buggering a heron.

Re:If you think that is evil (4, Funny)

forrestt (267374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972823)

Is that what that guy meant when he said in his interview he was doing "volunteer research into the sexual habits of endanger water foul"?

Re:If you think that is evil (5, Insightful)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972731)

It does seem pretty extreme just to do an interview. Especially about never mentioning the word "Google" ever again, even if you don't get the job.

It seems the NDA could make it hard to ever get another job after Google, since you are not allowed to even mention Google or say what your salary was. That might make a resume look pretty funny, and it could be an awkward interview. "Yes, I used to work for an internet search engine company, but I can't tell you which one."

I've Seen Worse Than that Even.... (3, Funny)

mqudsi (1074334) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972873)

I was hired to write a program. The NDA dictated that I couldn't talk about the program or who hired me, or how it worked or what it did. And it had one evil clause in there that made it outrageous: I wasn't allowed to use the program that I developed. Not even during debugging/coding. Just had to code, and hope it ran when the guys that were allowed to use it came. But that doesn't mean Google's isn't bad... Just you know, all things considered..

Re:If you think that is evil (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#18973079)

Interestly enough, that was the theme around Tales from the Boom Boom Room [amazon.com] . When you work in Wall Street firms, you sign a boilerplate agreement that waives your right to court proceedings and will instead settle disputes in NASD arbitration. Not just little scuffles over back commissions, they were taking issues of civil rights and sexual harassment cases before these industry-led kangaroo courts where many of the rules of evidence, testimony,etc are null and void. Not surprisingly, firms got off with a kiss on the wrist much of the time. Worse, when the women at these firms banded together in a class action suit, their attorneys that had gotten overly chummy with the defendants pushed an arbitration-style settlement process that would dole out paltry settlements in exchange for covering up their misdeeds. Some difference.

When companies collude to make sure that all of their employees sign these agreements, it isn't a choice anymore. Choosing between signing over your rights or starving is a farcical definition of choice.

i have sent it to all my friends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972355)

...before signing. :-)
Don't ask for it now.

MIght not be enforcable... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972359)

the fact that it never expires could be enough to break it. 'course I wouldn't want to spend the $ on a lawyer to find out...

Re:MIght not be enforcable... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972517)

As someone who has signed the damned thing (after showing it to my lawyer), I can tell you for sure that it can be attacked on the grounds of blatant inequity.

Re:MIght not be enforcable... (3, Interesting)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 7 years ago | (#18973047)

Well, it's a good reason for never applying for a job with Google. I would have, upon being presented with such an NDA, left with a really loud laughter.

If you sign such slave agreement, you are just too stupid. Don't apply for a job with me afterwards or I'll laugh even harder at you.

Re:MIght not be enforcable... (5, Funny)

DaJoky (782414) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972865)

"And this NDA never expires."
I thought that 2038 was a far expiration date for their cookie, now I must revise my judgement...

Evil? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972375)

And he's been forced to sign this at gun point, right?

Oh noes. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972377)

Oh boo hoo. Google wants to protect themselves against corporate spies, whatever shall we do?

Re:Oh noes. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972529)

Eh, I work for a rather large mobile phone company, and my contract with them isn't even half as stupid, and still manages to protect against industrial espionage. I'm even allowed to mention that the company is called Ericsson.

Open Source. (1, Insightful)

kraemate (1065878) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972379)

And some people claim Google is the savior of open source...sheesh.

Re:Open Source. (2, Insightful)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972605)

I'd say open source (well, free software) is the savior of google as it gives them good infrastructure at commodity hardware costs. Anyway Google is a good vehicle to prove it's possible for a company to rely on free software and profit.

WTF? (1)

CasperIV (1013029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972943)

Just because something is open source doesn't mean the companies behind it should be stupid. If your a company worth any money at all and you don't have a nondisclosure agreement, you are asking for trouble. Disclosure can include but is not limited to trade secrets, operating design, business model, employee functions, business partners, future projects, prospective clients... the list goes on and on.

I find it this sort of thing very funny. I liken the concept to the idiots who believe open source is communism... not quite, but thanks for playing.

Re:Open Source. (1)

lintux (125434) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972987)

I'm not going to say they are the one and only saviour, but things like the Summer of Code certainly help. I also have some colleagues working on GCC, all improvements go straight to the FSF. I'm not voiding my NDA here, because it's visible for anyone [gnu.org] . And of course there are some kernel hackers like Andew Morton working there.

1st rule of google is you do NOT talk about google (4, Funny)

Himring (646324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972397)

The first rule of fight club is you do NOT talk about fight club.
The second rule of fight club is you do NOT talk about fight club.
The third rule of fight club is you can NEVER reverse engineer meatloafs fake boobs....

Re:1st rule of google is you do NOT talk about goo (2, Funny)

forand (530402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972747)

Sadly and to the great detriment to my eyesight they were not fake.

Re:1st rule of google is you do NOT talk about goo (4, Funny)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972859)

"The third rule of fight club is you can NEVER reverse engineer meatloafs fake boobs...."

His name is Robert Paulson.

Re:1st rule of google is you do NOT talk about goo (1)

Himring (646324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972899)

His name is Robert Paulson.

Re:1st rule of google is you do NOT talk about goo (1)

Himring (646324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972937)

I understand. At google, we do have a name. His name is Robert Paulson....

I applied there (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972399)

What are they going to do? Kill m*BANG*

[Yes, we are. We will however submit your Slashdot message as a warning for others.]

Things like this are easy to fix. (5, Informative)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972411)

Just line out, and initial the parts you want struck. Add the phrase to the effect that by accepting this NDA as modified that Google agrees to it in it's modified entirety. Then get a photocopy of it. Usually companies will accept the modified contract without even looking at it, they are that self-absorbed.

Agreements and contracts can be modified by any party that accepts or signs them. Usually they also contain the phrase that it cannot be modified by you, but just line out and strike it first.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972505)

Just line out, and initial the parts you want struck.

And then you can, of course, be working some place else.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972707)

I've modified the NDA at two places I've worked, and modified the non-compete and copyright assignment forms at *every* job I've worked at. I've even discussed the changes with the hiring manager. Yet I still worked for those companies.

Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. It will probably even earn you some respect.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (5, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972979)

I modify EVERY contract I sign. I NEVER EVER sign a contract as-is. From a car purchase to a Cellphone contract.

Only fools blindly sign those things, and these companies know that most people are in fact fools.

I struck out the no compete and the "we own all your IP" sections of my comcast contract and EVERY contract they make you sign yearly when the stupid HR department tries to prove they are worth something.

I make a copy before submitting (I refuse to do their Online signing, it pissed off all the HR people) worked there 7 years until I moved on to a far better job, Did the same thing here to.

If you sign ANYTHING without reading it in it's entirety and modifying the thing you do not agree to, you really are a silly fool.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972525)

I don't think he needs to worry about signing it now that he's put it on the internet. Well, i suppose he can, but he can kiss that coosh job goodbye.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972555)

Im guessing if they went to the trouble of being this strict with their NDA, they are also pretty strict about not accepting changes to it. At most large companies, the only people who are authorized to approve changes to an NDA are the legal department and if you, as a hiring manager / HR recruiter / individual contributor, sign a modified agreement without that approval, then you are putting your job in jeopardy.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (0)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972579)

Of course... IANAL, and YMMV.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972589)

Just line out, and initial the parts you want struck. Add the phrase to the effect that by accepting this NDA as modified that Google agrees to it in it's modified entirety.
That works if the potential employee pool is shallow. People are knocking down doors to work at Google, so Google can just say no and move on to the next highly qualified applicant who won't potentially cause them legal nightmares down the road.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972623)

Then google will, and probably is, populated by the weak.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972685)

Or populated by the strong who happen to be not bothered by the NDA. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972743)

Naw, no strong people there. Sheep, perhaps. I bet they also let google go through their credit report. People like that have no respect for their own well being, won't have any respect for others well being... hence, the China debacle.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972951)

What, people can't prioritize differently than you? The ability to make public statements just doesn't matter to most people who are just interested in working on awesome (to them, anyway) projects and being rewarded for their hard work. It doesn't make them sheep, it doesn't make them weak.

hence, the China debacle
Whoa, complete red herring there. The China policy decision by Google is unrelated to this; those policy decisions are not made by the rank-and-file.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1, Insightful)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 7 years ago | (#18973059)

"What, people can't prioritize differently than you?"

Of course they can, even if those prioritizations are wrong, and detrimental to themselves and others.

"The ability to make public statements just doesn't matter to most people who are just interested in working on awesome (to them, anyway) projects and being rewarded for their hard work."

This is a trait of the weak.

"Whoa, complete red herring there. The China policy decision by Google is unrelated to this; those policy decisions are not made by the rank-and-file."

No, no red herring there. Everyone that stayed with google after that, and those that wish to join google after that, implicitly agree with what google did. Evil companies are staffed by evil people.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (2, Insightful)

Doc Lazarus (1081525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972797)

No, in my experience people who don't stand up for themselves or are easily bullied usually make it high up into the company or are jammed into positions. And given how everybody treats people like that at various corporations, it's definitely not for the best. The Peter Principle requires only a person to be loyal to make it far.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972989)

People pick their battles, and the simple fact of the matter is that an NDA just doesn't matter to a lot of people who are interested in working for Google. It has nothing to do with not standing up for themselves; it has to do with them choosing not to fight something completely tangential to their objectives.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972713)

The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded...

Very Meta (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972995)

The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded...
E.g. cause them to drop 30 year old pop culture references?

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (2, Informative)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972609)

Then you may have to wait a while - at least in the case of the company that I work for. Line managers here aren't permitted to accept changes to contracts or agreements and your changes would have to be reviewed by our contracts group and our lawyers. At the speed things work here, you may get the revised paperwork back in, say, a month...

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972669)

Doesn't sound like your company moves very fast at all, but there are still sloths in existance so it's not all bad huh?

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972631)

IANAL, but from going through home sales and purchases a number of times now, each party must initial anywhere there was a change, to indicate that the change was accepted. If the candidate lines out an item, it may not be a valid revision unless someone with authority to represent Google also initials each stricken or modified comment.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1)

MarsBar (6605) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972709)

But it's a bit like the GPL - you either accept it as valid as it is and take the rights it gives you, or you don't accept its validity and have no rights under it.

In other words, either they take my modified NDA and accept the changes I've made or they don't accept it and I haven't signed anything.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (3, Informative)

bhmit1 (2270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972841)

IANAL, but from going through home sales and purchases a number of times now, each party must initial anywhere there was a change, to indicate that the change was accepted. If the candidate lines out an item, it may not be a valid revision unless someone with authority to represent Google also initials each stricken or modified comment.

If they don't initial and don't agree to your change, then the most they can do is declare the contract void. They aren't allowed to force you to agree to something you removed before signing the document. In this case, google doesn't want the entire NDA declared void, so there's nothing they can do to unstrike the comment other than not hire you and not tell you something subject to the NDA.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972849)

Contracts like home purchases are two way. You are selling, someone is buying, and both are agreeing to the terms. Both parties are restricted and guided by the terms. Both need to sign.

An NDA is one-way. Only one party has any limitations or restrictions. The other party can either accept or reject the NDA as rewritten, but they don't need to sign it because there is nothing binding them to anything in the agreement.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972677)

Has that ever actually worked for anybody?

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (5, Insightful)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972885)

Hardly anybody tries that, and most people dont' even read what they sign. I do it on credit card applications (have two modified credit cards where the company can't change the interest rate), job applications (back when I wanted one, now I'm a consultant), any time someone wants me to sign anything. I read it all, modify what is needed, and it just really pisses people off when you read everything you sign. It's amazing the length of audacity that people that work for large companies will go to. My insurance agent once wanted me to sign that I read a particular item, so I forced him to produce it (took the asshole an hour and a half to find one), and I read it... slowly.

Slashdot here is a duality of bullshit. On one hand there are a lot of people here that like to bad mouth corporations, but they'd sign that NDA without reading it because it's 'google'. Well, fuck Google, it's a large corporation now, and it'll bend you over and fuck you in the ass if it thought that would get it ahead (speaking as an entity). One of the other dualities are the pagans that like to bad mouth christianity even though paganism is just as stupid.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972911)

"Has that ever actually worked for anybody?"

We (small UK firm) were bought out by (big US firm). One of the first things they tried to do was rewrite our (clear, fair) contracts, during an exercise in standardising contracts across the whole UK. As part of that, they tried to rewrite our (clear, fair) IP clause, to say they owned everything.

There was so much negative feedback from the staff (including definitely-meant threats to quit and bring legal actions) that they backed off, the senior HR person involved in the takeover mysteriously disappeared, and revised contracts with the old (reasonable) IP clause replacing the new wording in its entirety were circulated. The entire UK staff of (big US firm) now has our version of the clause, as far as I know.

When I first joined (small UK firm), I asked to see the full contract in advance of my starting day, not just the summary of key details they sent me with the offer letter. I did mention that one thing I would be checking was the IP terms. I was told that was no problem, and a senior manager actually turned up on my doorstep the following night with printed contract in hand, commenting that this wasn't an unusual request from experienced candidates and they had no problem with it. If I'd wanted to make reasonable changes, I imagine it would have been given serious consideration: several of my colleagues did have slightly non-standard contracts in various ways.

Now we're part of (big US firm), though, I imagine anyone wanting to deviate from the standard, UK-wide contract is told to take a hike.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972965)

It worked for the BOFH. Knobface.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (4, Informative)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972679)

Aside from the ridiculousness of your proposal, I'd suggest that you actually read the NDA in the TFA:

4. Participant agrees not to do the following, except with the advanced review and written approval of Google: (a) issue or release any articles, advertising, publicity, or other matter relating to this Agreement (including the fact that a meeting or discussion has taken place between the parties) or mentioning or implying the name of Google."
They aren't saying you can't talk about Google, just that you can't talk about the negotiations and the NDA itself. I don't know about you, but that doesn't seem altogether unreasonable to me.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (2, Insightful)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972907)

4. Participant agrees not to do the following, except with the advanced review and written approval of Google: (a) issue or release any articles, advertising, publicity, or other matter relating to this Agreement (including the fact that a meeting or discussion has taken place between the parties) or mentioning or implying the name of Google."
IANAL, and maybe I'm missing some context here, but it says that you can't mention or imply the name of Google. It doesn't say you can't mention or imply the name of Google in the context of the Agreement. I don't see how one could read it otherwise.

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972683)

You could do all that, if they didn't blindfold you first...

Re:Things like this are easy to fix. (2, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972721)

According to his biog, the physicist Richard Feynman did that when he was conscripted. He struck out the bit about obeying orders. IIRC, the army didn't even notice until he refused to obey an order and pointed it out when challenged. IIRC, all they could do was boot him out of the army again.

Of course, in that case being booted out was an acceptable outcome. Probably not if you're applying for a job.

This just in (0)

coleopterana (932651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972423)

Google is a company that does new, cutting edge work with brilliant people and is competitive with both well-established companies and small, nimble startups! They actually have a need for secrecy in development! News at 11.

Re:This just in (5, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972883)

No. While it does some cutting edge work, it is not anything particularly new as far as working methods are concerned:

  • Google has strict separation between network, servers and development. You are not allowed to straddle fences. In fact this is something you are asked during the interview process long before any NDAs. So if you have a skillset which spans multiple disciplines you are of no interest to them. Based on prolonged and utterly disfunctional dialogue with their recruiters, they want "industry standard" people. Outstanding - maybe, but "industry standard" none the less, which fit exactly the industry standard niches
  • Google deploys industry standard working methods - current and past:
    • Own project time, mandatory skills improvement, etc - ATT, Xerox, etc had that 30 years before them. Granted they abandoned it when descending into the outsourcing sweatshop frenzy, but there is nothing new in this. This was the industry standard for a long time until some penny pinching idiots decided to "rationalize" it. Same for many of the other famous gimmicks.
    • Google operates a more or less strictly on-site shop. So telecommuting, no teleworking, etc. Once again, nothing new, nothing revolutionary, firmly stuck in the past. Half of the Valley (and outside it) is way ahead of it on this one.

Google has some of the attributes which the industry used to have before penny-pinching cretins tried to "rationalize" it. As a result it achieves roughly what the industry used to achieve in those days. In fact less. Just look at the level of innovation coming out of ATT, IBM, Xerox and early Valley companies 30+ years ago per hour human time invested. In everything besides these "blast from the past" attritbutes it is an utterly bog standard corporation. And the primary aim of the NDA is to hide this, not to hide its supersecret achievements.

And now follows news at 11.

FUD (1)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972427)

NDAs do expire,regardless of how long the company would like to say they are good for. Like anything else legal, contracts and agreements are made of the same material that we wipe our behinds with. The key, for the company, is having enough monetary leverage to bring a legal case to bare. Oh wait, they have a 150B USD market-cap and have most of their revenue based on a glorified grep.

i'm really not bitter. ;)

You can't force people to keep salaries secret... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972431)

There's nothing in there that restricts you from disclosing your salary with others. It is, in fact, illegal for a U.S. company to prevent its non-management employees (even professional/exempt/salaried ones) from disclosing their compensation.

Re:You can't force people to keep salaries secret. (2, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972741)

Yeah, but I've yet to see a company that didn't include the "don't discuss your salary with anyone" in the contract. It's really in the company's best interest to keep you in the dark as to your actual bargaining position. They really don't want some of there less savvy people to learn just how much more their co-workers make just because they know how to play the table at the salary negotiations.

Re:You can't force people to keep salaries secret. (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18973033)

No ones forcing Google employees from disclosing salaries. However, presumably every Google employee agreed not to by signing that agreement, so doing so would probably be basis for dismissal as a breach of contract.

What's the problem? (4, Insightful)

What Is Dot (792062) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972439)

I don't see any problem with this kind of an agreement. The government has similar agreements, but theirs are far more strict. How does this hurt the potential employee anyway? When a company is trying to protect its interest in a highly competitive field, how much is too much?

Re:What's the problem? (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972575)

It does seem kind of extreme just for an interview. I would expect an employee to have to sign something like this, but not somebody that just wants to talk about job possibilities.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Turey (1030434) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972809)

That's nothing. When you sign in at the visitor's desk at Google and get a badge, you have the option of signing this. If you don't, your badge has "NDA Declined" on it, in fairly large letters. We weren't even going there to meet anyone from Google, we were just using their meeting room. The fact that they're paranoid enough to try to make everyone sign this is scary.

Read it! That was taken way out of context. (5, Informative)

darthscsi (144954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972457)

What you are not allowed to do in the section mentioned there is use the fact that you had a meeting with google in your marketing or press releases. It does not say you can never mention google, as the summary indicates. For individuals, the most likely and probably only implication of the section is that you might not be able to use an employment offer from google as a bargening chip with other companies, but this isn't clear to me, as I don't know if that can be considered in the classes of things you cannot disclose from other sections (or if by nature a job offer to you does not ential a duty of confidentiality on your part since it isn't related to trade secrets or anything else explicitly mentioned).

Re:Read it! That was taken way out of context. (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972629)

Well it does say:

Participant agrees not to do the following, except with the advanced
review and written approval of Google: (a) issue or release any
articles, advertising, publicity or other matter relating to this
Agreement (including the fact that a meeting or discussion has
taken place between the parties) or mentioning or implying the
name of Google
Now, that may mean not to say I signed a NDA with Google, but it could easily be read that you should permenently strike the word google from your vocabulary. Maybe that's why its gmail, not googlemail...

It also looks to the grammar police in me that they have a bit of a tense problem there, but maybe it is some kind of nefarious lawyer code that I'm not privy to.

Re:Read it! That was taken way out of context. (1)

patcpong (952524) | more than 7 years ago | (#18973083)

My grammar is horrible, but is the grammar problem you saw "issue or release" and "mentioning or implying" being in different tenses? I think "mentioning or implying" is in the same tense as "relating to", which would make "mentioning or implying..." modify the "articles, advertising,..." like "relating to..." does and supports the idea that you're only forbidden to use or imply Google's name in marketing or press releases.

Like I said though, my grammar sucks.

Going to Google is like... (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972459)

Working at Google is like going to heaven. And it's next to impossible. So they know they can do anything they want to you once you're there.

Goddamn lawyers have taken over (3, Insightful)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972491)

Seems like the lawyers have taken over there. Management asked lawyers the question: "Make a risk analysis and possible solution."

Lawyers draft up some crazy-ass contract which is perfectly logical but doesn't take common sense into account. All risks mitigated, and at the same time, looks ridiculous.

kinda saw it first hand (4, Informative)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972499)

I have a friend that works at Google in NYC, and I went to visit the office once. I had lunch with him and a couple of other people that worked there. They started talking about work-related things, and one of them turned to me and said "Are you a Goolger?" (Google employee) and I said no. All three of them suddenly became very careful not to use any terms that would give me a clue what they were talking about- using lots of pronouns and very general type of language as to not disclose any of what they were talking about.

Re:kinda saw it first hand (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972557)

How rude. Specifically talking in a way to exclude someone from a conversation.

OTOH, you could ahve said 'Yes'. I mean, it's their rule not yours!

Like the mason ring. You are not allowed to wear one if you are not a mason, but if you aren't a mason their rule doesn't apply to you, so you can wear one.

Re:kinda saw it first hand (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972701)

I bet if you wear a Masonic ring and you're not a mason, you have some very odd interactions with people

Re:kinda saw it first hand (2, Funny)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972817)

Not as odd as if you wear a Masonic ring and are a Mason...

Re:kinda saw it first hand (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18973037)

It is so easy to fake being a mason it's not funny. A friend in college infiltrated a local Masonic temple for research in his journalism classes.

It took him only 4 days to get what was needed to fake it, including a real masonic ring and all the info of the temple it was from (luckily from across the country) and the backstory to cover it.

It is not hard at all to fake your way into where you do not belong.

Re:kinda saw it first hand (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972897)

Like the mason ring. You are not allowed to wear one if you are not a mason, but if you aren't a mason their rule doesn't apply to you, so you can wear one.

Doesn't mean that you won't be dealt with harshly if they catch you. Walk around a college campus wearing a shirt from a fraternity you don't belong to and see how long you last. If you have a real death wish, try the same with a Hells Angels jacket patch walking past their hangouts.

Re:kinda saw it first hand (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972577)

Sounds like you should have said yes.

Re:kinda saw it first hand (3, Informative)

Have Blue (616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972739)

You would have the same experience with (conscientious) employees of any other cutting-edge company. Secret projects are secret projects.

Re:kinda saw it first hand (-1, Troll)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972991)

"It is NOT a "MacBook Pro". It is a PowerBook."

You are NOT a "retard". You are a piece of shit retard.

Re:kinda saw it first hand (1)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972805)

Google should search for a visitor pass in their security procedures.

...or mentioning or implying the name of Google (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972509)

Voldemort, is that you?

He who has the capital, makes the rules. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972513)

The downside of globalist libertarian economics it that the rich and powerful call the shots. Suck it up, folks. When "the man" calls the tune, you must dance.

don't even ask (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972541)

I ain't sayin' nothing, so don't even bother asking...

when is slashdot going to fall out of love? (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972563)

this story is only shocking and interesting to those who still believe google is somehow saintly amongst large companies. that's impossible. a large company is a large company is a large company. they're all the same amount of corporate evil (however small or large you imagine that necessary/ unnecessary evil to be, salt to your particular political inclinations)

there is a certain prejudicial aura around google in the slashdot crowd. circa 2002, google was every geek's wet dream, powerhouse little startup bringing the big bad guys to their knees at their own game. however, since that time, google has morphed into just another 500 pound corporate gorilla, no better and no worse than microsoft, or walmart, or any other corporate bogeyman of your choice

slashdot: google = microsoft. get it into your head. doubleclick and privacy, china censorship, this nda. take your pick. fall out of love. the fairy tale story is over

in all of your prejudicial and stereotypical ways of thinking about microsoft, apply it to google, and then maybe ytou have a better understandning of that company (and of microsoft, while google is not as saintly as the presumed slashdot prejudice imagines, microsoft is not as rabidly evil as the presumed slashdot prejudice imagines)

please update your circa 2002 prejudicial impressions of google to 2007. k thx

If you ANAL then... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972567)

...do not try to interpret an NDA without one. This article is perfect proof as he misreads items and takes several others out of context. The lack of a "built-in" expiration is nothing new either, since Google is attempting to protect their current technologies and see no reason why they would be replaced in 5, 10 or 20 years. The built-in expiration is the public availability of the information.

Really, this blog post is almost FUD, or maybe it is just downright stupidity. Like I said, if you are not a lawyer...then ask one to read your NDA, because legalese != English.

As a Google employee... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972603)

...I can't comment on this post.

So? (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972607)

And the big deal is what? You're not allowed to talk about the interview until you get hired or not. It's not like when someone asks you where you work, you have to cough and look away.


Participant agrees not to do the following, except with the advanced review and written approval of Google: (a) issue or release any articles, advertising, publicity, or other matter relating to this Agreement

Stupid and unenforceable (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972611)

Time and time again, these draconian contracts get thrown out - what are you going to do, stop saying the phrase 'I googled it' ?

Re:Stupid and unenforceable (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972769)

No, but you won't remember anything after the mind-wipe anyway...

Google's Evil DNA (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972687)

Thats what I first read the headline as. I though, wow, someones has proved it.

Mention the name Google (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972751)

Most of it is pretty obvious, they can't show you trade secrets and then allow you to later "reverse engineer" the stuff. And there are even reasonable relaxations, such as when the stuff becomes public anyway (by no fault of yours), you are free to use it. Since the NDA itself is now public, all the self-referring limitations are void.

The only strange part is the prohibition against naming or implying Google. It is (as far as I can see) not limited to any particular context. It is way to broad to be enforceable as it stands, so I suspect some intended limitations were lost. You could guess from context that it somehow only applies to the NDA itself.

Larry Page aka Tyler Durden (0, Redundant)

Beau6183 (899597) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972767)

The first rule of employment at Google is: You don't talk about Google! The second rule of employment at Google is: YOU DON'T TALK ABOUT GOOGLE! ...

er wait a second (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18972771)

I actually had three phone interviews there (All for the same job, just different people calling.) I never signed anything. I also didn't get the job, but still.

Search harder! (1)

SageinaRage (966293) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972839)

People are really looking hard for some way to call Google evil, aren't they?

Google Hell (1)

AragornSonOfArathorn (454526) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972877)

This looks like a sure-fire way to get your blog blacklisted forever into "Google Hell" [slashdot.org] . ;-)

NDA for NDA (1)

cenonce (597067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972917)

Perhaps now that Google knows he posted excerpts before he signed, they'll make all future prospective employees sign an NDA not to disclose Google's NDA before showing it to them.

It Don't Say That (1)

Dresq (674739) | more than 7 years ago | (#18972983)

"you possibly sign away your rights to reverse-engineer any of Google's code, ever." NOT Read it again. The restrictions only apply to confidential stuff that Google discloses to you once you've signed. AND there is a specific exemption for ANYTHING that was already publicly available when Google disclosed it to you, OR that becomes publicly available (through no fault of yours) after Google discloses it to you. Doh!

Google has screwed itself with this then (2, Informative)

twfry (266215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18973015)

IANAL, but I do know a bit about how far NDA's can extend in the US. Here courts will only enforce them for around 1 year, maybe 2 if you were very senior level and the NDA was tailored to exclusive points regarding your job. Courts will also not enforce NDAs that cover too much information (let alone everything). The NDA has to be limited in the information considered to be protected.

In cases where companies made over extended NDAs, the courts generally view them as being too broad and unenforceable. A company can not limit an employee from competing against them for too long or limit the employee too much in what they can say/do in the limited restricted period.

The courts in the US when faced with similar NDAs, have simply stated they are too broad and as a result nothing is enforceable. These NDAs are useless and you are free to do what you want even if you signed one. Have fun.

you don't have to sign the Google NDA (1)

fubob (7626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18973075)

As of a couple years ago --- Google gives you the option to not sign the NDA. But you'll be displaying a visual mark that tells employees you declined to sign the NDA, and you won't be able to talk about some subjects. It also makes the interview awkward and one looks like a jerk.
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