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Google seeks recruits for privacy 'red team'

The Web titan is building a group dedicated to finding and solving "subtle, unusual, and emergent" problems with its products.

Google, which settled a privacy case with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week, is building a "red team" dedicated to solving privacy problems.

The team will be focused on tracking down and fixing privacy risks within the company's products, services, and businesses processes.

Its existence came to light after a Google posted a job advertisement seeking a "Data Privacy Engineer, Privacy Red Team".

The advertisement says:

Top candidates will have an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of modern web browsers and computer networks, enjoy analyzing software designs and implementations from both a privacy and security perspective, and will be recognized experts at discovering and prioritizing subtle, unusual, and emergent security flaws.

Kaspersky Lab's ThreatPost blog says that while the concept of a "red team" is far from new -- red teams have been used by companies for decades to identify and block methods of circumventing security systems -- Google's move to confront issues "that could involve user privacy risks is perhaps a unique one."

Google was recently hit with a $22.5 million fine by the FTC -- the largest it has ever issued for violation of one of its orders -- over charges that it "placed an advertising tracking cookie on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google's DoubleClick advertising network." The FTC found Google had automatically set the third-party cookies on Safari, despite the Apple browser being set up to reject such cookies by default.