Hardly anyone knows Google better privacy than Stephan Micklitz and Jan Hannemann. The two experts will develop in the Munich branch of the company for years, Tools that allow users all over the world can decide for themselves what information they leave Google and what not.

Sometimes, when Stephan Micklitz know at a birthday party or summer party in the Kindergarten, new people, experienced it, as these are reserved to respond to his employer. “When I tell people that I work for Google, I hear often the criticism that we save a lot of user data,” says Micklitz in his office at Google in Munich, close to the main train station. “I answer that the data collection can also be switched off. But the most believe me until you have tried it yourself.”

Since 2007, Stephan Micklitz works at Google. He was one of the first employees at the Munich site and has engaged early with the issues of Online security and privacy. Since 2010, Micklitz directs the global development of key Google products for security and data protection. The company decided in 2008, this area to settle in Germany, he finds, as before, makes sense. “At the time, the discussion on the recording of user data is started here,” recalls Stephan Micklitz. “And Google wanted to be there, where this theme was discussed most intensively.”

Currently, the privacy is at the center of attention. 25. May, the data protection regulation came into force, which regulates the processing of personal data. Stephan Micklitz remembers the Moment when he the EU-law with colleagues for the first Time read through. “In the end we found that we had developed for many of the objectives are already a number of Offers,” recalls Micklitz and on the way to the conference room, in which he is about to meet with his colleague, Jan Hannemann.

Google account on the Smartphone (photo: Conny Mirbach)

as early as 2009, Google released its first data protection Tool, the Google Dashboard. Even then, Micklitz and his team were responsible for the development. In the following years, additional features were added: the inactive Account Manager, for example, that since 2013, his digital legacy on Google can manage, 2014, the security check and 2015, the privacy check shall be conducted with users through its privacy and security settings step – by-step.

In the same year, finally, an application of a casting, the combination of all the Features: My account followed. The users had for the first time, a point of contact, with the you could check what data Google stores about you and where you also decide whether or not to delete the information collected about them and their collection off. And those who do not want to see personalized ads, you can also check this here. Since the introduction of My account has been constantly improved and supplemented. Alone in 2017, it reported worldwide, almost 2 billion users, of which 40 million with the built-in privacy check and even 300 million, led the security check.

June, 2018, a fundamental Revision was carried out: From My account, the Google account users – initially for Android. The iOS and browser versions will follow later this year. For the Relaunch of Google-account-product-Manager Jan Hannemann was next to Stephan Micklitz, has in the meantime taken a seat next to him. Hannemann, doctor of computer science, has been working for five years at Google in Munich, Germany. He was responsible for the creation of My account and he is up to today – not without reason it is called internally, like “Mr. Google account”.

Hannemann, the new Design of Google account explains to his Smartphone. “We wanted to make the service clearer and more personal, especially for mobile devices with small screens,” he says with a glance at the Display. Then Stephan Micklitz picks up his Smartphone and opens the application. “When I start the service, offering me the Software now for example the Option, a security check to perform,” explains the developer. “I see, so here immediately, whether or not Google has any suggestions on how I can improve my safety.”

(photo: Conny Mirbach)

product development Stephan Micklitz and Jan Hannemann are based on surveys, which Google is investigating the handling of individual services, but also General attitudes in the population around the world. “European and especially German data protection are often more sceptical than Americans,” says Jan Hannemann. “Of course it has to do with our history.”

Not all users objected to the inclusion of their data in principle. “Some might find it handy if your Smartphone gives you know when it is time to the airport to leave. Others appreciate the Autocomplete function of the search engine, so the automatic completion of a search term. Others are pleasantly surprised when YouTube recommends Videos that meet the personal taste perfectly. These and many other Features are available only with the data of the users. Put simply: The more there are, the better our products.” And that is the real reason why Google stores data.

Especially in the case of privacy, there is no single solution, especially as the needs of the users change over time, adds Stephan Micklitz. “It is important for us that everyone can decide for themselves what information he gives to Google. And as we develop our Tools accordingly.”

infobox, article 1 short biographies

Stephan Micklitz as the head of development worldwide in the areas of security and privacy at Google responsible. He studied at the Technical University of Munich, computer science and works since the end of 2007 at Google in Munich, Germany.

Jan Hannemann care as a product Manager on the Google account, previously My account that acts for the user as the control center for security and privacy. Hannemann holds a PhD in computer science at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and came in 2013 to Google to Munich.

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