Build Better Defenses
October 29–30, 2017: Training
October 30–November 1, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
New York, NY

Security by the numbers: Improving the security of online content through transparency reporting

Michee Smith (Google)
3:50pm–4:30pm Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Security usability
Location: Beekman

Who is this presentation for?

  • Information security practitioners and security public policymakers

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A general understanding of best practices for online security (useful but not required)

What you'll learn

  • Explore considerations when launching a security transparency report
  • Understand the benefits and pitfalls of sharing this type of data


Transparency reporting is a powerful tool for providing online users with information on how governments access their personal data. In addition, this form of public accountability has proven useful in advocating for better policies and regulation around access and removal of a user’s data by law enforcement. In recent years, Google has attempted to use these principles to inform users about the state of online security as well as encourage the online software industry to adopt best practices around encryption.

Since the launch of the Email Encryption in Transit transparency report, Google has seen a more than 40% increase in encrypted emails going in and out of Gmail. Can public accountability really be used to drive the adoption of security practices inside a company and the industry at large? Michee Smith explores the successes and pitfalls of sharing this type of data and how to approach similar endeavors.

Topics include:

  • A brief overview on the evolution of the security section of the Google Transparency Report
  • Criteria to consider when launching a security transparency report
  • Working cross-functionally to favorably land the report in market
  • Setting realistic goals and metrics around the impact of the report
  • Benefits to users and security of the online ecosystem when engaging in security transparency
  • Risks associated with sharing security data broadly
Photo of Michee Smith

Michee Smith


Michee Smith is a product manager for security and privacy at Google, where she is responsible for infrastructure products that provide transparency to users and internal data governance operations on the handling of personal data. Michee is passionate about ensuring that privacy is embedded in every step of the product and data lifecycle. Previously, she spent 12 years in a variety of software development and program management roles at Microsoft.