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Wednesday, February 17, 2010
EPIC Files FTC Complaint on Google Buzz

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) today filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charging that Google?s recently launched Buzz service violates federal consumer protection law.

The EPIC complaint urges the Trade Commission to require Google to make the Buzz service fully opt-in, to stop using Gmail users? private address book contacts to compile social networking lists, and to give Google users meaningful control over their personal data.

"This is a significant breach of consumers? expectations of privacy," said Marc Rotenberg, EPIC Executive Director. "Google should not be allowed to push users? personal information into a social network they never requested."

Google launched Buzz on February 9, 2010, and quickly activated it for all Gmail users. As soon as users began viewing the service, they were automatically listed as "following" posts from their most common email contacts. Participation in the service also created a profile, which displayed publicly this list of common contacts. Google has since revised the service twice in response to widespread outrage, but privacy violations remain, according to EPIC.

According to the EPIC complaint, email providers have a responsibility to safeguard the personal information that users provide and Google has failed to fulfill this responsibility.

EPIC is a public interest research center based in Washington, D.C. EPIC focuses public attention on emerging privacy and civil liberties issues.

More information is available at

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