Google Inc. (GOOG) Looks to Strengthen Privacy Team

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) might be about 18 months behind the curve, but it seems that the company is making user privacy a high priority, as it is listing a job posting seeking data privacy engineers for the company’s “red team.” Google has made several mistakes in regards to user privacy in the the past year, and chances are this new move is in response to the $22.5 million fine it agreed to pay the FTC a couple weeks ago (which we reported here yesterday, is being challenged by a consumer group and thus is not finalized yet).

Sergey Brin

In the job posted, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) says it is seeking a privacy engineer. “Specifically, you will work as member of our Privacy Red Team to independently identify, research, and help resolve potential privacy risks across all of our products, services, and business processes in place today.”

This may definitely be called for, since Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) is on the record with several privacy issues in the last 18 months or so. It started in March 2011 when Google settled with the FTC over privacy violations related to its now-defunct social network, Buzz. Part of the settlement involved Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) agreeing to submit to 20 years of privacy audits. But a year later, users in California and New York filed a class-action lawsuit after Google changed its privacy policy to allow certain information to be linked across all of a user’s accounts with Google products or services. And the Street View service has been under fire from several countries all around the world for privacy violation allegations – including Street View vehicles collecting Wi-Fi information from individuals.

While $22.5 million to the FTC is pocket change for Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), it likely realizes that any more privacy issues may lead to more trouble that may actually start to sting the checkbook. There will likely be many investors who will be watching this new push for privacy protection, including hedge-fund managers like Chase Coleman of Tiger Global Management.