Security Experts:

Google to Develop a Red Team to Address Privacy Issues

Google is looking to go proactive on privacy issues. The search giant recently posted a job listing for a data privacy engineer to work within their Privacy Red Team. The listing is notable, given that Google settled a privacy case with the FTC last week to the tune of $22.5 million.

A data privacy engineer 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,” the job posting explains.

Specifically, the posting continues, the candidate will work as member of Google’s internal Privacy Red Team. The perspective employee will “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,” the posting says.

Red Teams are nothing new, and those who have taken part in such groups are a key factor in discovering the unknown. Commonly, a Red Team is tasked eliminating risks and liabilities from within before anyone else can leverage them. In this case, that is exactly what Google plans to do. Their level of success however, will depend on those picked for the job.

To qualify, a potential applicant needs to have a basic understanding of C, C++, or Java. On top of that, they will also need a, “in-depth technical knowledge of privacy and security engineering, computer and network security, authentication and security protocols, and applied cryptography.”

It’s also worth noting that Google’s expectations of the Red Team isn’t to just locate and address existing, but otherwise unknown, privacy issues – they are to help document processes and controls that “may directly or indirectly contribute to future privacy risks.”

Google has constantly remained under the public’s watchful eye for privacy issues. Their problems with the FTC serve as a perfect example of this. Still, it’s far too early to speculate on the potential success or failure of this project. If it works, then everyone will benefit. Otherwise, aside from the expense of hiring the staff, nothing changes.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.