Google employees worry software tweak threatens to silence dissent

Google employees are raising alarms on internal discussion boards about what they worry is a new effort by the company to stifle their efforts to organize — a change that Google says is just a tweak to its employee calendar system.

The conflict is the latest example of rising tensions at Google between management and employees, who like other workers at tech companies are trying to exercise more say in the direction of their company. Google employees have become more vocal about a range of issues including payouts to executives accused of sexual misconduct and U.S. military contracts.

Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that Google employees were circulating an internal memo criticizing the change to the company’s calendar system and calling it a surveillance tool that might quash dissent. Some mocked the change with a Harry Potter-themed meme about “dark arts.”

The software tool, a Chrome browser extension for employees, will automatically report when they create a calendar event with more than 10 rooms or 100 participants, Bloomberg reported, citing an internal memo written by a Google employee.