Google Expands Privacy and Security Team – Munich

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  • In order not to lose the confidence of the users, Google wants to communicate in the future more transparently, which data are used like.
  • For this purpose, the Group hires additional employees. 200 people will soon be working on security and data protection at the Munich location.
  • The current district will then be too small, a neighboring building must be rented.

“What was my last search on Google?” – “Does Google actually know where I am right now?” – It's not that users do not ask themselves these questions, by the way, on a world-wide basis, by the way. But although the Internet company already offers its users not only to experience all this, but also relatively far-reaching self-control – rather inexperienced users do not get along with it so well today.

In the process, people like Stephan Micklitz really bother. The computer expert has been with Google in Munich for eleven years and in 2009 developed the Google Dashboard, a kind of control center for all privacy and security settings. The fact that his team of 100 employees in Munich is now becoming the Google Safety Engineering Center, ie a development center responsible for Google worldwide, is largely due to the Munich team. It should now be doubled by the end of the year to 200 employees. This is a long-term investment, assures senior attorney Kent Walker, who flew in specifically from the headquarters in Mountain View, California, for the press meeting on Tuesday.

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This is the Google office in Munich


Even if the head of the Munich Google development site, Wieland Holfelder, emphasizes that Google has been thinking about security and privacy for a very long time: The fact that the topic has now come to the fore is mainly due to the fact that the big Internet corporations in have come under pressure recently. On several occasions their destruction was demanded. The concentration of many data in a few companies is now not only unpleasant for privacy advocates, it is also increasingly moving the users and thus also the policy.

The bad word from the Techlash, that is, the increasing antipathy to the superior power of the big technology companies, fell not once in the performances of the speakers on the stage. It was much easier to talk about doing more in the future in order to make it as easy as possible for the users and still be safe on the way.

But how much privacy can a company offer its users if it lives on their data? Everything is not so bad, says chief lawyer Walker. Google makes only about six percent of all searches to money, it is sufficient in 90 percent of all cases, what the users have entered as a query. Wherever it comes, data such as the place would come. And: “We're finding more and more ways to do it with less data.” For example, in which the data would be evaluated with artificial intelligence. In addition, says Wieland Holfelder, Google does not use a lot of data for its advertising business, but only to offer the users services such as to remember the upcoming departure. For this to work, of course, the service must also be able to dispose of this data. Holfelder also believes that it is important to show users what data Google collects. The users would have to be able to change the settings. Only this transparency shows them what they have to reveal their data.

The Munich development team takes care of the data protection and security settings across the major Google applications, ie for the mail program or the search as well as for the video platform and company subsidiary Youtube. Logged in users should be able to access their privacy settings in all of these programs – just click on their profile picture and then see and adjust their settings.

An in-house test center should help to make the settings understandable and user-friendly. There is still room for improvement, they also know that on Google. Those who are not familiar with the web and with computers on you and you, do not understand terms like cache or cookies. The goal is therefore, says Jochen Eisinger, chief developer for the security of the browser Chrome, to help users so that they can select the best settings for them. As an example he mentioned the password manager that Google offers. It works for all websites and browsers. “If we still needed the post-its on the screen, we would not really have helped people,” says Eisinger.

Of course, to use the password manager, you have to trust Google. Trust, the keyword was also quite common in Munich: If users lose it to Google, the group has a problem, and not a small one, without the data of users would collapse its most important business. It also makes economic sense to invest in confidence-building measures. In Munich, they will soon have to rent adjoining buildings. The building designed for 800 employees at the railway tracks between the Hackerbrücke and Donnersberger Brücke stops becomes too small. The limit of 1000 employees will be exceeded this year.

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. (tagsToTranslate) Economy in Munich (t) Data protection (t) Google (t) Munich (t) Süddeutsche Zeitung (t) SZ

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