At that time, Google populated Buzz, its new social networking site, by using personal data from users of Gmail and other Google services without their consent.The FTC stepped in last year, saying these were “unfair and deceptive practices.”
The FTC stated in some cases this practice led to disclosing personal information to “abusive ex-husbands and clients of mental health professionals."
The commission also ruled that Google had violated the U.S.
“This action (the lawsuit) arises from Google, Inc.’s imminent violation of a consent order with the FTC, according to EPIC. An October 13, 2011 consent order bars Google from misrepresenting the company’s privacy practices, requires the company to obtain users’ consent before disclosing personal data, and requires the company to develop and comply with a comprehensive privacy program.”
According to EPIC the FTC does not have a choice in the matter, claiming that by law the FTC has an obligation to enforce the original consent degree in this case.
EPIC claims that by failing to stop Google from making these changes the FTC is “placing the privacy interests of literally hundreds of millions of Internet users at grave risk.”
The privacy organization hopes the court will rule quickly on the current lawsuit to force the FTC to take immediate action before March 1.
Subsequent to the lawsuit, EPIC filed a request for a temporary restraining order against the FTC, again to prevent the new Google policy from going into effect while giving the court time to consider the merits of the law suit.
EPIC argued in the request for a temporary restraining order that “the prospect of harm to the FTC is low if the motion is granted, and the public interest strongly favors EPIC’s motion.”
The LA Times reported Thursday that Google sent the newspaper a response that stated in part: ”We haven’t yet seen the filing so can’t comment on the specifics. Protecting people's privacy is something we think about all day across the company, and we welcome discussions about our approach."
Google is a large and powerful company but if it's discussion it wanted, it sure got an earful today. I’m pleased there are organizations out there such as EPIC that have the ability to slow down any company trying to use my information for its benefits until all the facts are out there.