Google Buzz Violates Privacy

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reported that it has directed the regulators towards auditing of Google over the next 20 years as a result of the violation of the privacy that Google had promised.

The violation has been reported over the new social network from Google known as the Google Buzz.

Google blogged that it seems that Google has fallen short of its own privacy promises and that it seems that regulators are now wanting more detail in regards to what might have went wrong and what is Google doing to prevent occurrences of such events from happening again.

Google advised that it has reached an agreement with FTC in regards to this latest privacy issue and the audit reviews will be conducted over an interval of 2 years for the next 20 years. The Chairman of FTC said if companies make pledges in regards to privacy of its users, then they must abide by them.

The audit reviews will make sure that Google shall honor its commitments towards its customers and would build upon privacy oriented operations.

The reason this all went into a frenzy was the initial launch of Google Buzz itself. As soon as the service was launched, it became the target of heavy criticism of users across the globe.

The idea behind Google Buzz was to bring together the private and personal lives of users. But this didn’t go well as the contact with which a particular user was in touch with frequently was made public as a default setting. Users can opt-out of this option, but still there were some parts of Google Buzz from which the user wasn’t removed.

During the sign up process, the users were not made aware of such a feature that would make their most contacted person on Google visible publicly. Google in its sign up message does state that the personal information of the users will be required during the sign up but if Google would use any or part of the information entered by the user, it would ask for their consent.

Google failed to notify the user of the feature and hence Google was in evasion of its own privacy rules.
Google has set up a fund of approximately $8.5 million to support the organizations that are working on privacy education and privacy policies on the web.