Google recently announced privacy director Alma Whitten will step down from her position with the search giant after three years on the job. She was hired by Google in 2003 and took over as the company's Director of Privacy in 2010 to help patch things up following a string of high-profile privacy and security issues at Google.

Notable among the missteps was Google Buzz, a social network that never really got off the ground partially due to the fact that Gmail users were automatically signed up for the service and linked to the people they e-mailed the most. That blunder ultimately led to a class action lawsuit that Google settled for $8.5 million. On a separate occasion, Google ran afoul for using Street View vehicles to collect personal information from unprotected Wi-Fi networks without permission.

During her time at the search giant, Whitten was responsible for evaluating and identifying products that might have underlying privacy concerns before they were released - a position that CNET proclaimed as being the toughest job at Google.

In a statement on the matter, Google said Whitten has done so much to improve their products and protect users during her tenure. The entire team will continue her hard work to ensure that users' data is kept safe and secure.

We are now hearing that longtime Google employee Lawrence You will take over the position, managing a team of several hundred privacy and security experts. His official title will be Director of Privacy for Product and Engineering, we're told.