Surveillance Startup Used Own Cameras To Harass Coworkers
Verkada, a fast-growing Silicon Valley surveillance startup, equips its offices in downtown San Mateo, California, with its own state-of-the-art security cameras. Last year, a sales director on the company’s sales team abused their access to these cameras to take and post photos of colleagues in a Slack channel called #RawVerkadawgz where they made sexually explicit jokes about women who worked at the company, according to a report in IPVM, which Motherboard independently verified and obtained more information about. “Face match… find me a squirt,” the sales director wrote in the company Slack channel in August 2019, according to one screenshot obtained by Motherboard. The comment was posted along with a series of photos of employees’ faces captured with the office’s surveillance system which were patched together using a Verkada facial recognition feature. “Face search,” as it’s called, can pinpoint an individual in a sea of faces. The pinpointed face, in this instance, belonged to a Verkada employee, her mouth wide open. In addition to verifying the incident with three sources who worked at Verkada at the time, Motherboard compared the format of the images posted to those included in Verkada’s publicly available demo videos to verify that they were indeed captured by the company’s surveillance cameras.