Google Critic Meredith Whittaker Becomes Signal’s First CEO

Meredith Whittaker, formerly a manager at Google, will become the company’s first chairman behind chat app Signal. Her job description states that she will be involved in ‘Signal strategy, communication and policy’.

Whittaker has been a member of Signal’s board of directors since 2020. She says she wants to focus on preserving Signal, which relies on user donations The Washington Post. “It costs tens of millions of dollars a year to develop and maintain an app like Signal,” said the Signal chairman.

The only way to escape technology that makes money from user data is to pay for products that don’t, Whittaker says. An alternative to data collection only exists if the community of people who rely on it “helps a little.” Signal is already asking users for an optional monthly donation.

It is not yet known when Signal will have a new CEO. Moxie Marlinspike, the founder of the chat app, stepped down from his position earlier this year. WhatsApp founder Brian Acton has temporarily taken over the position. Whittaker says the company is “taking the time to find a good successor.”

During her time at Google, Whittaker led the development teams at Google Research and Google Cloud. She is also the founder of the research center AI Now Institute, which aims to make people aware of the impact of artificial intelligence on society. In 2018, Whittaker helped draft an internal petition against Project Maven. Google helped the US Department of Defense improve computer vision in drones. That same year, the scientist staged company-wide protests against Google’s handling of reports of sexual harassment. In July 2019, Whittaker resigned from the company, where she had worked for 13 years.

Meredith Whittaker. Source: Signal