Google has announced plans to create a Google Safety Engineering Centre in Munich
The hub will have an expert team of engineers for the creation of privacy features across all of the company’s products. Simultaneously, it will also launch the Google.org Impact Challenge on Safety to fund organizations working on digital safety issues, for Europe. In a blog post that is attributed to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, he explained that the company will double the number of existing privacy engineers in Munich, where it already had a team working on such issues. “The team will work hand in hand with privacy specialists in Google offices across Europe and globally, and the products built there will be used around the world,” Pichai wrote.
With just a couple of weeks to go before its first anniversary, the EU’s GDPR enforcement has had some hotly debated issues. While it has been lauded by some, the regulatory move has been tough as a consumer protection standard on some others. It has been spoken of both as a necessary policy and an impediment to innovation. Forcing companies to invest more in compliance and making privacy a huge issue globally the GDPR has certainly ruffled some feathers – some pretty high on revenue ones as well. Following the trail, the US is also enforcing the California law, and recent reports suggest that Facebook may be negotiating a privacy-related settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. This could include 20 years of oversight and billions of dollars in fines.
At the I/O developer’s conference last week, Google made a number of privacy-related announcements. “I shared how we’re working to build a more helpful Google for everyone,” Pichai wrote in his blog. “Keeping people safe online, and their information private and secure is a big part of how we do this. We believe that privacy and safety must be equally available to everyone in the world, and we bring that to life with products that empower everyone with clear and meaningful choices around their data.”
Germany has been one of the most aggressive countries when it comes to privacy issues and policies. In his writing, Pichai mentioned that products like Google Account, a central stop for checking privacy settings, was created in Munich. Apparently, the company now has 750 employees in Munich at this point, and that number will be increased to about 1000 y the end of the year.
Google products like YouTube are still facing growing scrutiny for their role in a misleading content play, and the company has spoken of plans to create a €10 million ($11.23 million) European grant fund for safety efforts, both online and offline. This money would be available for support to non-profits, universities, academic research institutions, for-profit social enterprises, and other expert organizations across Europe working on safety issues, the post says