ISPLA News: EPIC Sues Over Google Privacy Changes
- Litigation over planned Google privacy changes
Cecilia Kang, in a Washington Post item on a Reuters' article by Stephen
Hird, reports that the privacy advocacy group Electronic Privacy and
Information Center Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit against Google for
breaching privacy rules. EPIC in its complaint stated Google's planned
nt-in-major-privacy-matter/2011/03/30/AFxb5j2B_blog.html> a settlement the
company reached with the FTC last summer. The agreement was reached after
federal law enforcement found Google violated privacy laws by exposing Gmail
users' personal information when rolling out its now defunct social
networking service, Google Buzz.
Starting March 1, Google intends to merge data collected from Gmail users
with information tracked about that user across the company's 60 other
services. Google has said the changes will only apply to users logged onto
Gmail or other services. However, EPIC alleges that Google misrepresents how
it plans to use the information, which would largely be for behavioral
advertising. The claim Google also violates its FTC consent decree, by
forcing the changes on users without the ability to opt out of the changes
and still maintain their sign-in accounts.
"The imminent change in Google's business practices threatens the same
customer interests that the FTC's consent decree sought to protect," EPIC
said in its suit filed at the U.S. District Court of the District of
Columbia. "If the FTC does not act to prevent the change, all Google users,
including EPIC, face an imminent harm that is both certain and great."
The changes also concern some lawmakers, who have called on the company to
explain the changes.
document/files/2012/20120202_letter_google_privacy_policy_en.pdf> And the
E.U. has asked Google to delay its rollout of new privacy policies as it
investigates how the changes will affect consumers.
According to the Washington Post article, EPIC filed the original complaint
about Google Buzz privacy violations that led to the initial FTC charges.
The FTC didn't answer specific questions about Google's new policy changes.
However, FTC spokeswoman Claudia Farrell said, "The FTC takes compliance
with our consent orders very seriously and always looks carefully at any
evidence that they are being violated,"
collect more information about users who can choose to use its search engine
and YouTube without being account holders.
commitments, and we've undertaken the most extensive notification effort in
Google's history to ensure that users have many opportunities to learn about
the changes," Google said in a statement.
Bruce Hulme, ISPLA Director of Government Affairs <http://www.ispla.org/>
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