Alma Whitten, Google's first director of privacy, plans to step down in June, Google announced on Monday. As Whitten prepares to exit, the onus is now on Google to communicate to its stakeholders (read: everyone) that security will remain a top priority for the search-engine giant. For Google's PR team, that means all hands on deck.
Among the 10 tenets in Google's company philosophy, #6 famously states that "You can make money without doing evil." However, most criticism of Google involves privacy and stem from #7 on that list: "There's always information out there—our researchers continue looking into ways to bring all the world’s information to people seeking answers."
Acccording to Cnet, Whitten's is the “hardest job at Google.” She was the first person to fill the position after the company got caught up in a handful of privacy debacles that included Street View cars collecting user e-mails, passwords and URLs.
Whitten will be succeeded by Google engineering director Lawrence You, who worked with Whitten and the privacy team that oversaw the consolidation of Google’s 70+ privacy policies into one, according to Forbes.
"The privacy and security teams, and everyone else at Google, will continue this hard work to ensure that our users' data is kept safe and secure," Google said, in a statement, which, ostensibly, should reassure PR pros for whom Google is like another appendage.
It better. Consumers will be watching, as Google's driverless cars and Google Glass are developed further, creating new areas of possible privacy abuse and infingement.
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