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Google Appoints Privacy Director & Adds New Privacy Measures

Google has announced they have increased their privacy controls within Google to better secure user privacy. Google has done this in response to them collecting data over wifi via their street view cars.

Google has added three broad changes to help secure private data going forward:

(1) They appointed a director of privacy, Alma Whitten to work on the engineering and product side. She will build controls to ensure privacy within Googles products and internal daily routines.

(2) Google will train all of their employees on Google’s privacy principles and add additional privacy training and security programs.

(3) Google will be ramping up their compliance procedures. Each project leader will have to maintain a privacy design document for each project they manage. The privacy design document will show how people within and outside Google have access to private data and will be reviewed by managers at Google and independent internal audit team.

As you may remember, Google stopped the cars that were collecting data after learning what type of data the cars were collecting. Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin said we screwed up and apologized. The type of data collected included security numbers and other very personal information.

Germany wanted Google to turn over the data but Google fought it. In the end, Google ended the wifi street view cars for collecting packet data while driving.

In addition, Google has fired at least two employees for breaching privacy within Google. Some of those stories were pretty disturbing.

Alan Eustace, Senior VP, Engineering & Research of Google added:

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to update one point in my May blog post. When I wrote it, no one inside Google had analyzed in detail the data we had mistakenly collected, so we did not know for sure what the disks contained. Since then a number of external regulators have inspected the data as part of their investigations (seven of which have now been concluded). It’s clear from those inspections that while most of the data is fragmentary, in some instances entire emails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords. We want to delete this data as soon as possible, and I would like to apologize again for the fact that we collected it in the first place. We are mortified by what happened, but confident that these changes to our processes and structure will significantly improve our internal privacy and security practices for the benefit of all our users.

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