Whitten joined Google 10 years ago and oversaw the company’s privacy policies during a tumultuous time when its Street View cars were accused of spying on people’s Wi-Fi networks and Google decided to consolidate its over 70 privacy policies under a single document.
Whitten has a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon, where her thesis looked into “Making Security Usable.” She spent seven years as an engineer at the company before she was promoted to director of privacy right after the Wi-Fi Street View story broke and Google had been severely criticized for the privacy controls of Buzz, its pre-Google+ attempt at launching a social network.
At the time, Google described her as “an internationally recognized expert in the computer science field of privacy and security. She has been our engineering lead on privacy for the last two years, and we will significantly increase the number of engineers and product managers working with her in this new role.”
Whitten, Forbes reports, will be replaced by Lawrence You, a Google engineer who previously worked at Pixo, Apple and Taligent. Forbes reports Whitten will remain at the company to oversee the transition.