EPIC Unlikely to Prevail in Challenge to FTC Stance on Google Privacy

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A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia agreed earlier this month to fast-track a lawsuit by a privacy group against the Federal Trade Commission, arguing that the FTC has failed to enforce the terms of a settlement agreement it reached with Google last year after the FTC accused Google of violating privacy regulations in the launch of Google Buzz.

Last year, Google and the FTC agreed on a settlement stemming from allegations that Google violated its own privacy promises to consumers when it launched its social network, Google Buzz. That investigation began with a complaint filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the same group that is the plaintiff in this current case. EPIC is not suing Google and was not a party to the settlement reached between Google and the FTC. At the time of the settlement, the FTC said it “bars the company from future privacy misrepresentations, requires it to implement a comprehensive privacy program and calls for regular, independent privacy audits for the next 20 years.” 

We wrote earlier about Google’s new privacy policy, set to take effect on March 1, that would streamline and consolidate about 60 disparate policies of Google products and services.  As part of the new policy Google will aggregate data it collects on users across its products, with the exception of Google Wallet and Google Books, and develop a mega-profile on each user. The data collection includes a user’s Google searches, Gmail message content, contacts, YouTube favorites, and physical location.

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