OpenAI Seems to Have Undercover Security and It’s Creeping Out Locals

OpenAI Seems to Have Undercover Security and It’s Creeping Out Locals

An entrance to the OpenAI offices located at 1960 Bryant Street in San Francisco.

  • OpenAI’s office apparently has undercover security guards, unsettling neighboring businesses.
  • OpenAI moved into its Mission District office in July 2023, keeping details tightly guarded.
  • California law requires unarmed security guards to disclose license info to law enforcement.

OpenAI’s office in San Francisco is crawling with undercover security guards who don’t take kindly to questions, locals say. And employees at neighboring businesses say it’s weirding them out.

Photographers for The San Francisco Standard, an online local news outlet, said they recently noticed what looked like undercover security guards standing outside the company’s office.

A photograph of one suspected security guard published by the outlet shows a man wearing a black baseball cap, sunglasses, and a clear earpiece.

Owners at nearby businesses, like Candace Combs of In-Symmetry Spa, told the Standard that the men would not tell her who they worked for or which company worked out of the building where they lingered.

“I asked, ‘Is this OpenAI?’ And they were like, ‘We can’t say,’” Combs told the outlet. “I was like, ‘Well, I know you’re OpenAI. We’re a spa that does massages, and here’s coupons for 10% off.’ So it’s like an open secret.”

OpenAI first moved into its 59,000-square-foot office in San Francisco’s Mission District in July 2023. According to planning documents, the building features amenities one might expect from a Silicon Valley tech startup, like nap rooms, micro kitchens, lounges for viewing the sunrise, and a multimillion-dollar library that spans the two floors.

The company has kept information about the office space tightly guarded since moving in, turning away reporters from Business Insider and other publications and refusing to confirm or deny the company’s location.

Iain Langlands, a cashier at a pet store just one block from the office, told the Standard that the “vibe” surrounding the OpenAI office is “secretive.”

“They have this security, and they look at me when I walk by the building or when I park,” he said.

James, another worker at a neighboring business, Health Ceramics, told the Standard that he asked some suspected guards if they were working security, but they “never admit to it.”

“[OpenAI] is not a bad neighbor, but they’re secretive,” he said.

California’s Bureau of Security and Investigative Services — which issues security guard licenses — did not immediately return Business a request for comment from Business Insider.

The Bureau told the Standard that unarmed security guards don’t have to wear a uniform or badge, but they must be employed by a security guard company, lawful business, or public agency and must disclose their license information to law enforcement.

OpenAI did not immediately return a request for comment from BI on Sunday.

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