Google's director of privacy product and engineering, Alma Whitten, has insisted that the company is working hard to give people more control of their personal information, but that the genie cannot be crammed back into the bottle.

Speaking at the Google Big Tent event, Whitten stated that companies that took personal information should provide a simple means of recovering, transferring or deleting that data.

"We are responding to people's understandable desire to keep control of the information about them," said Whitten.

"We look at extreme perfectionists that ask if people can delete every copy of anything that has ever been spread and we cannot provide that.

"But at the same time, we are addressing [the need for] a framework from a particular provider that should allow you to take the information back out and delete it.

"This is a principle we have pushed forward on our data liberation and Google dashboard and something we want to uphold."

Immense pressure

Google is, of course, a company that faces immense pressure on personal data – with the company gathering huge amounts of personal data through its massive internet presence in search, as well as YouTube and online mail and calendars.

But Whitten insists that "a lot of engineering resource" is given over to giving people control of their own information.

"[We seek to] provide that service that gives you a simple push button that allows you to download your data in an appropriate file format and put it into another service.

"It is important to us as a company to make sure that things are deleted if [the consumer] wants them to be."