The Federal Trade Commission is ordering Google to implement a comprehensive consumer privacy program that will force the Internet Giant to submit to regular privacy audits for 20 years. This is the first time this has ever happened in the Federal agencies history.
The action comes from a settlement of the FTC allegations that Google have used deceptive tactics and violated their privacy promises to consumers when they launched their social network, Google Buzz in early 2010.
FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said “When companies make privacy pledges, they need to honor them, This is a tough settlement that ensures that Google will honor its commitments to consumers and build strong privacy protections into all of its operations.”
Buzz has been centered around Google’s Gmail service. Although Google led Gmail users to think they could choose to join the network, the FTC said the options for declining or leaving the social network were ineffective. Those who did join Buzz, the options for controlling personal information were confusing and difficult to locate.
The FTC have said that Google failed to disclose properly that consumers frequently email contacts would become public by default. Google have been charged with misrepresentation and that it was treating persona information from the European Union in accordance with the US EU Safe Harbor privacy framework.
Google have apologised for the mistake they made “The launch of Google Buzz fell short of our usual standards for transparency and user control — letting our users and Google down. While today’s announcement thankfully puts this incident behind us, we are 100 percent focused on ensuring that our new privacy procedures effectively protect the interests of all our users going forward.”‘
KitGuru said: New privacy procedures is always a good thing.