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Feb 122012
 
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Federal Trade Commission Sued Over Failure to Enforce Law on Google

Krypton Radio Newswire

 

Those of us who use one of Google’s many services have more than likely noticed the constant stream of popup messages from the internet giant stating that they’re changing their privacy terms once again, and this has sparked a lawsuit from The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). Google had decided to take the Privacy Polices from all of its services and combine them into one large master Privacy Policy. The way they chose to do so has raised questions from EPIC as to if Google is up to its old alleged tricks again, as Google had been previously been cited for violating consumer privacy over the sharing of private user information without proper prior consent via its failed Google Buzz social network.

In a slightly unusual turn of events, EPIC didn’t sue Google but instead the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over what it felt was a failure to keep Google in line and enforce the federal order that the FTC had imposed on Google over sharing of consumer information with third parties. EPIC issued the following statement:

The Google privacy compliance report, made public today, raises new questions about the company’s failure to comply with an FTC Consent Order. The Order required Google to answer detailed questions about how it protects the personal information of Google users. But Google chose not to answer many of the questions. Most significantly, the company did not explain to the Commission the impact on user privacy of the proposed changes that will take place on March 1. EPIC has filed a lawsuit to force the Federal Trade Commission to require Google to comply with the Consent Order to protect the privacy interests of Google users. For more information, see EPIC v. FTC (Google Consent Order).

 

Google’s new one size fits all Privacy Policy goes into effect March 1st, and in regards to sharing information with 3rd party users or companies, Google states in the new policy:

Information sharing

Google only shares personal information with other companies or individuals outside of Google in the following limited circumstances:

  • We have your consent. We require opt-in consent for the sharing of any sensitive personal information.
  • We provide such information to our subsidiaries, affiliated companies or other trusted businesses or persons for the purpose of processing personal information on our behalf. We require that these parties agree to process such information based on our instructions and in compliance with this Privacy Policy and any other appropriate confidentiality and security measures.
  • We have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary to (a) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request, (b) enforce applicable Terms of Service, including investigation of potential violations thereof, (c) detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues, or (d) protect against harm to the rights, property or safety of Google, its users or the public as required or permitted by law.

If Google becomes involved in a merger, acquisition, or any form of sale of some or all of its assets, we will ensure the confidentiality of any personal information involved in such transactions and provide notice before personal information is transferred and becomes subject to a different privacy policy.

and

Changes to this Privacy Policy

Please note that this Privacy Policy may change from time to time. We will not reduce your rights under this Privacy Policy without your explicit consent. We will post any Privacy Policy changes on this page and, if the changes are significant, we will provide a more prominent notice (including, for certain services, email notification of Privacy Policy changes). We will also keep prior versions of this Privacy Policy in an archive for your review.

 

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