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Privacy & Data

CDT Statement on FTC Settlement with Google Over Privacy Violations During “Buzz” Rollout

Washington — Today, the Center for Democracy & Technology released the following statement in response to the Federal Trade Commission's proposed settlement for privacy violations incurred by Google during its rollout of the "Buzz" social network in February of 2010.

When Buzz launched, CDT warned that the service was fraught with privacy problems, among the most egregious of which was that users of the new service were duped into publicly disclosing personal information, including their email contacts, without their permission.

"The terms of this agreement are strong medicine for Google and will have a far-reaching effect on how industry develops and implements new technologies and services that make personal information public," said CDT President Leslie Harris.  "We expect industry to quickly adopt the new requirement for opt-in consent before launching any new service that will publicly disclose personal information," Harris said.

CDT has long championed privacy by design; this consent decree, for the first time, includes those critical principles.  "This settlement sends the message that companies not only have to keep the promises they make to consumers, they must give users control over any technologies that make their information public," Harris said.