Alma Whitten is Google's new director of privacy  (Source: Google)
Google also institutes loads of new privacy and security procedures in wake of Street View WiFi capture

Google is one of the largest online companies around with hugely lucrative advertising programs and popular software platforms like Android OS and its Chrome web browser. However, the company has also come under fire for its Street View vehicles (which it uses for its Google Maps application) when it announced that it had accidentally recorded payload data from unsecured wireless networks.

Google has been working closely with regulators around the world in an effort to fix the privacy issues that the Street View breach caused and to determine what sort of data was captured by the vehicles. Google has announced this month that it has instituted new privacy controls inside the corporation that will extend to all the projects Google and its workers participate in.

The first part of the new privacy plan for Google was to appoint Alma Whitten as the director of privacy across engineering and product management. Whitten will focus on ensuring that privacy controls are integrated into all products and Google internal practices. Google also states that it will expand training for workers in engineering and product management, as well as legal on privacy issues.

All Google workers will also be going through new information security awareness programs with clear guidance on security and privacy of data. Google also states that it is making changes to its review system that will require every engineering project leader to maintain a privacy design document for each initiative they work on. The document will record how user data is handled and will be reviewed by managers and an independent internal audit team.

Alan Eustace Senior VP of Engineering and Research wrote in the blog post, "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)." 

He continued, "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."

The capture of Wi-Fi data by the Street View vehicles resulted in multiple investigations around the world including one in Canada. Google has maintained the entire time that the capture of the Wi-Fi data was unintentional.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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