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EPIC files complaint to FTC over Buzz

Sections: Google, Web, Web 2.0 / Social Networking, Websites

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Google Buzz It seems like over night Google went from one of the most loved companies on the Internet to one of the most hated. All because of it’s new Buzz service. First a lot of users complain about privacy issues, which Google fixes in days. Then there are complaints that it doesn’t work as well as FriendFeed with some things, that it floods Gmail inboxes with messages and still has lingering privacy issues. After all of that, the Canadian government is investigating Buzz, and EPIC is asking the US to do the same.

For those who don’t know, EPIC stands for Electronic Privacy Information Center. Today the group sent the Federal Trade Commission a 16 page letter outlining the privacy issues in Google Buzz. The opening of the document complains that with Buzz, Google turned private information into public information, which “violated user privacy expectations.” It goes on to state that Google may have violated federal wiretap laws in addition to contradicting Google’s own privacy policy. The rest of the document calls for the FTC to investigate Google Buzz and outlines the history and complaints users have had about the service so far.

The privacy issues here are certainly warranted, there aren’t going to be many people who would say they want their email and other information shared without having much of a choice. If Google had warned users upfront that all information would be made publicly available if they chose to use Buzz it might have been a lot better. There is an option to opt-out of Buzz, though perhaps it would have been better for Google to make it an opt-in service instead. The company’s moves to fix those issues should be commended, even if the problems were terrible to begin with.

Read [EPIC PDF complaint] Via [Gizmodo]

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