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FTC's Pamela Jones Harbour Takes Google to Task on Privacy

Lora Bentley

Weeks before she gives up her post on April 6, Federal Trade Commissioner Paula Jones Harbour is taking aim at tech companies and their privacy practices (or lack thereof). The Wall Street Journal reports Harbour spoke out during the FTC's final roundtable on privacy.

 

In her opening remarks, she said:

Protecting consumer privacy is of utmost importance. Unfortunately, many of the companies that consumers look to as leaders - and that we expect to be leaders - still have not taken this message entirely to heart.

 

Specifically calling out Google, she said the launch of Google Buzz with such significant privacy issues was "irresponsible," and indicated that tech companies don't seem to understand that "consumer privacy cannot be run in beta."

 

Though she stressed that her views were personal and not made on behalf of the commission since she is on the way out, she also emphasized the FTC's commitment to protect consumer privacy. Harbour said:

The Commission will unfailingly step in to protect consumers where we believe the law has been violated, and that includes violations relating to privacy promises.

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