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James Dohnert

Google Privacy Director Alma Whitten Resigns

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Google logo Google's privacy director has resigned from her position after nearly 10 years of service at the search giant.

Alma Whitten worked at Google since 2003, taking over as privacy director in 2010.

"During her 10 years at Google, Alma has done so much to improve our products and protect our users," a Google spokesperson 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."

Did Whitten succeed in bringing stronger privacy regulations to Google?

Whitten ascended to the position of privacy director in the wake of the furore created by revelations that it had been collecting private Wi-Fi data via Google's Street View cars.

In 2010, Google was accused of harvesting private Wi-Fi data through the use of the vehicles. According to reports, the cars were collecting payload data from open Wi-Fi points for around four years.

At the time, Google reported that the data collection was a mistake. Google representatives said the collection came when a piece of code was unintentionally kept on Street View cars that went out into the wild.

That same year Google also faced privacy concerns involving its first foray into social networking. Google's Buzz social networking service faced an onslaught of criticism when it deputed in early 2010.

Google was taken to task over its decision to transplant Gmail user information to Buzz without their consent. The privacy issue eventually led to Google reworking its privacy policy and paying an $8.5 million fine. Also, Google was fined $22.5 million last year by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for tracking Safari browser users.

Google software engineering director Lawrence You is expected to take over for Whitten this June.

This article was originally published on V3.


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