Home Science & Technology Alma Whitten: Google’s first privacy director to step down in June

Alma Whitten: Google’s first privacy director to step down in June

Alma Whitten, who was Google’s first privacy director, is to step down after three years in the role.

The position was created by the search giant after mistakes on privacy including Google’s Street View cars collecting personal data as they captured images of street scenes.

London-based Alma Whitten is being replaced in June by California-based Google software engineer Lawrence You.

Alma Whitten, who was Google's first privacy director, is to step down after three years in the role

Alma Whitten, who was Google’s first privacy director, is to step down after three years in the role

Google said Alma Whitten had “done so much to improve our products and protect our users”.

In a statement given to Forbes and other news sites, Google said: “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.”

In 2010, Google fell foul of governments, privacy watchdogs and users when it emerged that Street View cars copied e-mails and passwords from private Wi-Fi networks.

In the same year, the launch of the Buzz social network tool caused similar problems because Google enrolled millions of people into it without their permission.

Google also made lists of contacts and other details public.

In the wake of these mistakes – which led to multi-million dollar fines – Google appointed Alma Whitten to help ensure its software engineers took account of privacy as they developed new services and updated older ones.

Lawrence You, who has been at Google for 8 years, was one of the first recruits to the privacy team Alma Whitten assembled.


When he takes over, Lawrence You will manage a privacy and security team that numbers hundreds of workers.

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