Google Gets More Grief over Buzz

Lora Bentley

I first heard of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, when the privacy group went on the record to complain about Facebook's changes to its privacy practices, and then again when the group filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. EPIC wanted the FTC to look into the social-networking site's privacy practices to ensure that users' privacy rights are not being violated.


The complaint was filed right around the time the FTC was hosting one of its roundtables to discuss regulation of online privacy, so it came at just the right time to actually get the FTC's attention. Now, the privacy group is at it again, this time going after Google Buzz. Despite the search giant's efforts to make significant changes to the social-networking service in the past two weeks to improve user privacy, EPIC is asking the FTC to investigate the privacy issues Buzz raises.


CNET News quotes the complaint this way:

This complaint concerns an attempt by Google, Inc., the provider of a widely used e-mail service, to convert the private, personal information of Gmail subscribers into public information for the company's social network service Google Buzz. This change in business practices and service terms violated user privacy expectations, diminished user privacy, contradicted Google's own privacy policy, and may have also violated federal wiretap laws.

Canada's privacy commissioner is also investigating the service, the story says.


Though CNET says Google did not respond to requests for comment on its story, Google's Bradley Horowitz told eWEEK the company "did not anticipate" such backlash from the public. But, Google Buzz product manager Todd Jackson admitted the company did not run Buzz through its "trusted tester" program before launching it live to the public. So, how could Google not anticipate the backlash?

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