EPIC files complaint with FTC demanding Google give opt-in consent for its social network

Privacy group calls for probe into Google Buzz

A privacy group has called on US regulators to investigate Google’s new social networking tool, claiming it invades users’ privacy.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about Buzz – part of the search giant’s Gmail.

Buzz was introduced to all users of Google’s email service last week. The tool displayed social networking lists based on each user’s most emailed contacts.

“EPIC’s complaint cites clear harms to service subscribers, and alleges that the change in business practices ‘violated user expectations, diminished user privacy, contradicted Google’s privacy policy, and may have violated federal wiretap laws,’” a statement on the group’s website said.

Google has already changed Buzz twice in order to allay fears over invasion of users’ privacy, however, EPIC argues that more changes need to be made.

According to the group’s filing with the FTC, it wants Google to “provide Gmail users with opt-in consent to the Google Buzz service”, “give Gmail users meaningful control over personal information” and “provide notice to and request consent from Gmail users before making material changes to their privacy policy in the future”.

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