Last October we announced the creation of stronger privacy controls inside Google. The changes included enhancements to employee training and changes to our internal procedures, as well as my appointment as director of privacy for product and engineering.

In the months since then, I have worked closely with people across the company to improve our training programmes and our product development processes, and to expand their reach. We’ve expanded privacy and security trainings for new employees, and we’ve significantly enhanced the core training for engineers over the past year to focus on the responsible collection, use and handling of data. We’ve also developed new security and privacy training for all Googlers. At the same time, we have improved our internal procedures by introducing new documentation for engineering projects and by creating a team to review (and where appropriate audit) those projects.

These changes have just received their first external review. In the course of completing its investigation into our inadvertent collection of WiFi payload data, the Information Commissioner’s Office requested a consensual audit of our privacy processes. Today, the ICO released its report, finding “reasonable assurance that Google have implemented the privacy process changes outlined in the Undertaking.” The report verifies the improvements we’ve made to our internal privacy structures, training programmes and internal reviews, and identifies some scope for continued work. We welcome their feedback on our progress, and we look forward to working with them to ensure that we continue to develop products that reflect strong privacy standards and practices.

We have worked hard on these new privacy controls, which are designed to improve our internal practices without getting in the way of the innovation that has powered Google since its inception. We know that there is no perfect solution, so we will continue to improve our current processes and develop new ones so that privacy awareness grows and evolves alongside Google.