Google, Don’t Be Hypocritical (NBC Bay Area, emphasis mine):
Despite its supposed mission to “organize the world’s information,” Google has fought to hide data about the race and gender makeup of its workforce.
The San Jose Mercury News reported that it had fought for 18 months through Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain data collected by the Department of Labor about the employees of Google and 14 other large Silicon Valley employers.
The question of diversity cuts to the core of Silicon Valley’s values. Investors, entrepreneurs, and managers love to tout the technology industry’s so-called meritocracy, in which talented workers rise quickly to the top. And yet the reality is that the technology industry remains dominated by white males, especially in management.
Google, Apple, Yahoo, Oracle, and Applied Materials successfully argued against the release of the data, claiming it would cause them “commercial harm.”
From Mercury News, Five Silicon Valley companies fought release of employment data, and won (emphasis mine):
Google, the company that wants to make the world’s information accessible, says the race and gender of its work force is a trade secret that cannot be released.
Experts in the area of equal employment law scoffed at the idea that public disclosure of race and gender data — for example, the number of black men or Asian women in job categories such as “professionals,” “officials & managers” and “service workers” — could really allow competitors to discern a big tech company’s business strategy. A bigger issue, they said, is the social cost of allowing large, influential corporations to hide their race and gender data.
The idea of a tech company’s race and gender makeup being a “trade secret” sounds like John Doerr’s race- and gender-based “pattern recognition” strategy when predicting which tech startups will be successful.
In response to privacy concerns, Google CEO Eric Schmidt had said in December 2009, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”