FTC: Google Used Deceptive Practices In Buzz Social NetworkSearch giant Google has agreed to settle a case with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday over charges that it used deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy policy when it launched Google Buzz, a social network, in 2010.

Google agreed to implement a comprehensive privacy program and will submit itself to regular, independent privacy audits for the next 20 years, according to the agreement, the FTC said in a statement.

The Agency had alleged in a complaint (PDF) that Google violated the FTC Act when it used information from the accounts of Gmail users to populate its new Buzz social network, in violation of the privacy agreement that Gmail users received when signing up for the service. Google never got consent who signed up for its free Gmail e-mail service to use that data, and also surreptitiously enrolled them in the Buzz network despite creating the impression that Gmail users could opt out of it.

As part of the settlement with the FTC, Google will cease misrepresenting the privacy or confidentiality of users data and obtain user content before sharing that information with third parties, the FTC said.

In a blog post, Alma Whitten, Google’s Director of Privacy, Product & Engineering, said the company “fell short of our usual standards for transparency and user control” when it launched, “letting our users and Google down.”

The company said it will ask users to give affirmative consent before changing how the company shares their personal information. Whitten apologized for the mistakes Google made when launching Buzz.

Categories: Compliance, Government, SMB Security, Social Engineering, Web Security

Comments (3)

  1. Anonymous
    1

    Why FTC never checked facebook?

    To me, seems that facebook had done and is doing far worse than google in one occasion with buzz

     

  2. Anuj
    2

    As part of the settlement with the FTC, Google will cease misrepresenting the privacy or confidentiality of users data and obtain user content before sharing that information with third parties, the FTC said.”

    I think you meant ‘consent’.

  3. Bazz
    3

    Justice is blind!

    Hundreds complained about Buzz — Not many (?) complain about FaceBook and like its service for whatever reason so FTC has no reason to snoop!

    — You don’t like it complain, not here but FTC.

    Madoff lived a fraudsters life for 20 years and nobody looked into his system!

    How many companies break the law without the cops knowing?

    And lynchings are frowned upon!

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