Google Agrees to 20 Years Privacy Policy Oversight by FTC

31 March 2011 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

Not only was Google’s roll out of Buzz in 2010 badly received by the user community, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a Complaint for Google’s violation of its own Privacy Policies:

 …Google launched its Buzz social network through its Gmail web-based email product. Although Google led Gmail users to believe that they could choose whether or not they wanted to join the network, the options for declining or leaving the social network were ineffective. For users who joined the Buzz network, the controls for limiting the sharing of their personal information were confusing and difficult to find, the agency alleged.

The FTC Complaint alleged that Buzz violate US privacy laws, and also violate the US – EU Safe Harbor Framework to allow personal data to be lawfully transferred from the EU to the US. Ultimately Google settled this dispute with the FTC and the FTC announced:

The proposed settlement bars the company from future privacy misrepresentations, requires it to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy audits for the next 20 years.

Clearly the FTC settlement with Google sends a huge wake up message to everyone to review their Privacy Policies to avoid FTC actions!

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