Google’s Chief Privacy Officer Announces Sudden Departure


Google’s Chief Privacy Officer of over 13 years, Keith Enright, announced that he will be leaving the company this fall in a shocking move — and Google has no plans to refill his position.

Enright penned a lengthy notice on his LinkedIn page Tuesday announcing his departure, saying that he was “ready for a change,” and that he’s excited to be “trying something new” in the coming months, though he didn’t specify where he plans to go next.

Related: An Internal Google Database Tracking Years of Privacy and Security Issues Was Just Leaked to the Public

“Google set out to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, and it’s been an immense privilege to advance that mission while protecting individual privacy and putting people in control of their information,” Enright wrote. “With thoughtful legal counsel, we supported teams that helped make smartphones more accessible to billions of people all over the world removing economic barriers to the immense benefits of technology.”

Enright also noted that though it’s in early “nascent stages,” the Google privacy team has “tried to inform a foundation for responsible AI governance” among other accomplishments and accolades during his tenure.

“Perhaps the greatest epiphany I’ve had over the past few years is the realization that one’s legacy is not the things you build, the things you put your name on, or the laurels that others lay at your feet along the way,” he said. “It’s the relationships, the friendships you forge, your mentors and mentees, the positive impact you have on the lives of those around you, and the changes they bring about in you.”

Google confirmed Enright’s decision in a statement seen by Reuters.

“We regularly evolve our legal, regulatory and compliance efforts to meet new obligations and expectations,” a Google spokesperson said. “Our latest changes will increase the number of people working on regulatory compliance across the company.”

Per Forbes, the company does not plan to replace Enright, and many took the news of his exit as “a shock.”

Enright’s departure comes at a contentious time for the company’s security and legal departments.

Earlier this week, an internal Google database that tracked privacy and security issues leaked to 404 Media, showing a slew of problems that were hidden from the public for over six years, including Google making YouTube recommendations based on deleted watch history and Google Street View accidentally reading and storing thousands of car license plate numbers.

“At Google, employees can quickly flag potential product issues for review by the relevant teams,” a Google spokesperson told the outlet in a statement. “The reports obtained by 404 are from over six years ago and are examples of these flags—everyone was reviewed and resolved at that time.”

Related: Google Will Delete Chrome Incognito Browser History: Lawsuit

Last December, Google faced a $5 billion lawsuit, which alleged that the company had been tracking internet data from people using private web modes such as “incognito mode” on Chrome. In April, Google agreed to delete billions of records as part of the settlement.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, was up over 39% over a one-year period as of Wednesday afternoon.

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