Privacy group urges probe of Google cloud services

March 18, 2009
The logo of web search engine Google is seen behing a computer keyboard. A US electronic privacy group has called for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the security and privacy of Google's Web-based products such as email and photo services.

A US electronic privacy group has called for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the security and privacy of Google's Web-based products such as email and photo services.

"Recent reports indicate that does not adequately safeguard the confidential information it obtains," the Electronic Information Center (EPIC) said in the filed with the FTC.

EPIC said it was petitioning the commission, which is responsible for consumer protection issues, to probe "Google's Cloud Computing Services to determine the adequacy of the privacy and security safeguards."

Cloud computing services provided by Google include , the Internet search giant's email program; , its online word processing and spreadsheet ; Picasa, a software application for digital photos; and Google Calendar.

EPIC, in the complaint filed on Tuesday, said that it wanted the FTC to determine whether Google has "engaged in unfair and/or deceptive trade practices" regarding its cloud computing products.

It urged the FTC to enjoin the company from offering such services "until safeguards are verifiably established."

"Such action by the commission is necessary to ensure the safety and security of information submitted to Google by American consumers, American businesses and American federal agencies," EPIC said.

In its complaint, EPIC cited an incident with Google Docs this month in which the Mountain View, California company acknowledged that the privacy of some digital documents had been compromised.

Google Docs product manager Jennifer Mazzon said at the time that a "very small percentage of users shared some of their documents inadvertently" because of an unspecified "bug."

There was no immediate reply from Google to a request by AFP for comment on the complaint by the Washington-based EPIC

Google and other Internet firms have been enticing people to rely on applications offered online as services "in the cloud" instead of buying software to install and maintain on their own machines.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Google Announces the Google Pack

Related Stories

Google Announces the Google Pack

January 8, 2006

Google announced the Google Pack beta, a free collection of useful software from Google and other companies that improves the user experience online and on the desktop. In just a few clicks, users can install and maintain ...

Recommended for you

Interactive tool lifts veil on the cost of nuclear energy

August 24, 2015

Despite the ever-changing landscape of energy economics, subject to the influence of new technologies and geopolitics, a new tool promises to root discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence rather than ...

Smart home heating and cooling

August 28, 2015

Smart temperature-control devices—such as thermostats that learn and adjust to pre-programmed temperatures—are poised to increase comfort and save energy in homes.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Doug_Huffman
not rated yet Mar 18, 2009
Internet marketeers entice people to buy vaporous virtual applications instead of promoting Open Source software.

Ah Oh helL, M$ and G00gle are buggy whips and vestiges of the way things used to be done. Dead men walking.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.