Google has always had the personal motto of “Don’t Be Evil.” That motto has become a joke among people in the tech industry lately as Google has been caught violating privacy rules in both “Safari-gate” and their collection of private data with Street View cars. It seems that Google is going to start cracking down on their own privacy snafus.
A report from Threat Post has found that Google is looking to hire people for a red team. They’re specifically looking for a data privacy engineer to join said team. Here’s the relevant part of the job posting:
As a Data Privacy Engineer at Google you will help ensure that our products are designed to the highest standards and are operated in a manner that protects the privacy of our users. Specifically, you will work as member of our Privacy Red Team to independently identify, research, and help resolve potential privacy risks across all of our products, services, and business processes in place today. Top candidates will have an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of modern web browsers and computer networks, enjoy analyzing software designs and implementations from both a privacy and security perspective, and will be recognized experts at discovering and prioritizing subtle, unusual, and emergent security flaws.
What this all means is that Google wants somebody to scan their products for security holes. They want to make sure that something like “Safari-gate” never happens again. It’s a noble endeavor and could bring back a lot of goodwill that Google has lost over the last few months.
That would be the case if people still weren’t accusing of Google of violating users’ privacy on purpose. Especially in the case of the Wi-Fi hacking via the Street View cars, people are convinced that Google was knowingly collecting the data. People also accused Google of knowingly bypassing Safari’s security to install ad tracking software on Macs using the browser.
Whether or not Google knowingly infringed upon your privacy is not my place to decide. The FTC decided against Google though (and then gloated about it). Google may be rich, but they probably don’t want to be dropping 22 million on every privacy settlement they run into. That’s why the creation of a red team is so important. They can work out any privacy kinks in software before it ships so that privacy snafus don’t happen again.
To the average person, this is only a good thing. It shows that Google is going to protect your privacy even more vigorously from now on. There will still be some conspiracy theorists who think Google is just trying to make their software even more invasive, but that’s not likely the case. Maybe it’s about time we let Google take back their “Don’t Be Evil” motto and really mean it.