Which is tougher: innovating on the bleeding edge of privacy technology or summiting the highest peak in the United States? We sat down with the Privacy team lead, Andrew Swerdlow (who just flew in from hiking Mt. Whitney with teammates) to learn just how Google’s privacy analysis engineers ensure that we protect what is most important - the data and privacy of our users.
What do privacy analysis engineers do?
Andrew Swerdlow: Privacy analysis engineers are a part of our cross-functional privacy team. We work closely with legal, policy and other engineers as products are being developed and released. At the beginning of product development, we sit with engineers to help them design products with privacy in mind. During development, we review, audit and test the boundaries of products. After a product launches, we evaluate and reevaluate the product to ensure it remains true to our privacy standards -- is what we are saying really what we are doing?
What makes privacy at Google so exciting?
Andrew: Our users trust us with the protection and security of their data, and to be open and honest about how we use it. Maintaining that trust and ensuring that protection is our top priority. At the same time, we also need to be able to launch completely new products and enhance existing products in new ways. Our work is about being responsible and innovative at the same time.
What’s the biggest challenge for your team?
Andrew: We constantly are dealing with the unknown -- future changes to laws, new technologies, new ways that people and products could be linked together or personalized. But, to our team, this challenge is really an opportunity to innovate -- and what we do here helps to inform privacy standards all over the world.