Google opened a privacy focused engineering center in Munich, Germany, on Tuesday, its latest move to beef up its data protection credentials as tech companies’ face growing scrutiny of their data collection issues.
CEO Sundar Pichai said the Silicon Valley tech giant is expanding its operations in the southern German city, including doubling the number of data privacy engineers there to more than 200 by the end of 2019.
The new Google Safety Engineering Center will make Munich a global hub for the company’s “cross-product privacy engineering efforts,” Pichai said in a blog post.
Staff will work with Google privacy specialists in other cities to build products for use around the world, Pichai said, adding that Munich engineers built the Google Account control panel as well as privacy and security features for the Chrome browser.
Data privacy and security at Google and its tech rivals including Facebook are increasingly in the spotlight. Both companies dedicated much of their annual developer conferences last week to privacy, with Google unveiling new tools giving people more control over how they’re being tracked while Facebook outlined plans to connect people though more private channels. (VOA)
A research initiative launched in cooperation with Facebook in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal has hit a roadblock as the social media platform is not keen to provide more sensitive and detailed data without compromising user privacy.
According to a Nature report on Thursday, the US-based research initiative funded 12 projects that were designed to investigate topics such as the spread of fake news and how social media was used in recent elections globally.
“Last month, the 8 charitable funders – which so far have provided a total of up to $600,000 for the scheme called the Social Media and Democracy Research Grants programme – gave Facebook time until 30 September to provide the full data set or said they would begin winding up the programme,” the report elaborated.
Following this, Facebook released a further data set, but not the full range originally promised.
“Other partners that are involved in the project say they are continuing their efforts to build a computing infrastructure that allows the company to share its data with researchers, irrespective of the funders’ decisions,” the Nature report further said.
“This is one of the largest sets of links ever to be created for academic research on this topic. We are working hard to deliver on additional demographic fields while safeguarding individual people’s privacy,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.
There are multiple calls to break up Facebook in the wake of several data breaches and spread of misinformation on the platform used by billions of users.
Nick Clegg, VP of Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook, recently said that he firmly believes that simply breaking them up will not make the problems go away.
“The real solutions will only come through new, smart regulation instead,” he added.
Turkey on Thursday fined social media giant Facebook for over $281,000 for a data breach that exposed the personal information of hundreds of thousands of users in the country.
Facebook exposed the name, gender, birthday, relationship status, educational background, religion, hometown, personal data and location information of 280,959 users, said the Personal Data Protection Authority — Turkey’s watchdog agency for data privacy.
Facebook was fined $201,865 dollars for the breach and nearly $79,000 for failing to provide notice of the breach. (IANS)