In a blog post last week, Google execs apologized yet again for its inadvertent collection of private Wi-Fi data from Street View cars. The company's senior VP of engineering and research, Alan Eustace, also set out the new processes Google has instituted as a result of investigations in several different countries following the Street View data-collection controversy.
For instance, Canada's privacy commissioner said she would consider the situation resolved when she received notice from Google that it had implemented better internal privacy controls and employee training around privacy, as well as appointed an employee or employees to oversee its privacy compliance efforts.
To that end, Eustace explains:
First, we have appointed Alma Whitten as our director of privacy across both engineering and product management....Second... we're enhancing our core training...with a particular focus on the responsible collection, use and handling of data....Third... we're adding a new process to our existing review system, in which every engineering project leader will be required to maintain a privacy design document for each initiative they are working on.
It's a good start, but as InformationWeek writer Thomas Claburn suggests, the company might want to restrict CEO Eric Schmidt's speaking engagements-or at least his attempts at privacy-related humor. Claburn writes:
Schmidt joked that if you don't like Street View cars taking pictures of your house, you can always move... [He] made a similar joke when he suggested that people change their names upon reaching adulthood to escape search results associated with their past. That joke too failed to be appreciated.