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Google's privacy chief making 'shock' exit after 13 years with the company

Hannah Getahun   

Google's privacy chief making 'shock' exit after 13 years with the company
  • Google's chief privacy officer is leaving the company in the fall.
  • The company says that Keith Enright won't be replaced and that it's restructuring his role instead.

Google's chief privacy officer is leaving the company after 13 years, and Google has no plans to replace him.

Keith Enright will remain at the company until the fall, a Google spokesperson told Business Insider. One source told Forbes the announcement of his departure was met with "shock" from employees.

"After over 13 years at Google, I'm ready for a change, and will be moving on this fall, taking all that I've learned and trying something new," Enright said in a LinkedIn post on Tuesday. "I'm incredibly proud of the team we built, and the work we did to keep billions of people around the world safe and in control."

Enright leads the global privacy team in crafting and implementing privacy and data policies across Google's products and services. In 2018, he testified about consumer data privacy to the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, defending Google's privacy policies while acknowledging the company's past mistakes.

Google's head of competition law, Matthew Bye, is also leaving after 15 years at the company.

Google confirmed the departures in a statement to BI and has said it isn't replacing Bye or Enright. A Google spokesperson told Forbes that instead, the company would restructure its policy and privacy work to include multiple teams.

"We regularly evolve our legal, regulatory, and compliance work as we launch and run innovative services that comply with a growing number of intersecting obligations and expectations," a Google spokesperson told BI in a statement. "Our latest changes will increase the number of people working on regulatory compliance across the company."

Google's privacy policies have been scrutinized

In December, Google settled a lawsuit that alleged the company was secretly amassing data from Chrome users who thought their browsing activity was private, or as Google calls it, in Incognito mode.

Google agreed to delete billions of user data records as part of the settlement.

On Monday, 404 Media obtained a leaked copy of an internal Google database that showed thousands of privacy-related incidents from 2013 to 2018, the outlet reported. The incidents included one in which a Google speech service logged audio of an estimated 1,000 children for about an hour, the report said.

A Google spokesperson told BI that all the incidents had been reviewed and resolved, meaning any private information had been deleted.

The company also told BI the news of the leak and the announcement of Enright's and Bye's departures were unrelated.

Google has tried to enhance user privacy with an initiative to eliminate third-party cookies in its Chrome browser.

Enright and Bye didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from BI.

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