10 nations tell Google of privacy concern on Buzz

Apr 20, 2010 By BARBARA ORTUTAY , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Officials from Germany, Canada, France and seven other countries are raising privacy concerns to Google over the online search leader's fumbled foray into social networking along with other matters.

Google launched Buzz as part of its Gmail service in February. It quickly came under fire for automatically creating public circles of friends for users, based on their most frequent Gmail contacts. After complaints, the company apologized and made changes to the service.

But in the letter sent Monday to Google CEO , the officials said they are still "extremely concerned about how a product with such significant issues was launched in the first place."

Google is another area of concern, with officials saying the company launched the mapping service - which includes street-level photos taken by cameras mounted on cars sweeping through neighborhoods - without "due consideration of privacy and data protection laws and cultural norms."

"In that instance, you addressed privacy concerns related to such matters as the retention of unblurred facial images only after the fact, and there is continued concern about the adequacy of the information you provide before the images are captured," says the letter, which is posted on the Web site of Canada's privacy commissioner.

Google representatives could not immediately be reached early Tuesday morning.

The other countries that signed the letter are Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The officials called on Google to create default settings that protect users' privacy and to ensure that privacy control settings are prominent and easy to use.

"We recognize that Google is not the only online company with a history of introducing services without due regard for the privacy of its users," the letter says. "As a leader in the online world, we hope that your company will set an example for others to follow."

Explore further: Say Ello to the new privacy debate on social media

More information: Link to the letter: http://bit.ly/dtUeUh

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Privacy group files FTC complaint on Google Buzz

Feb 16, 2010

(AP) -- A privacy watchdog group complained to federal regulators on Tuesday about Google's new Buzz social networking service, saying it violates federal consumer protection law.

Google launches 'Street View' charm offensive

Mar 02, 2010

US Internet giant Google launched on Tuesday a charm offensive for its "Street View" navigation service, aiming to soothe the privacy doubts of a sceptical German public.

Google to reshoot street views of Japanese cities

May 14, 2009

(AP) -- Google said Wednesday it will reshoot all photos in Japan for its Street View service after residents complained the 360-degree panoramic images provided a view over the fences around their homes.

Google warned by EU over Street View map photos

Feb 25, 2010

(AP) -- European Union data privacy regulators are telling Google Inc. to warn people before it sends cameras out into cities to take pictures for its Street View maps, adding to the company's legal worries ...

Google removes street images over privacy complaints

Mar 20, 2009

US software giant Google said Friday it had removed several images from its Street View software, which allows web surfers to view parts of 25 British cities, after users raised privacy concerns.

Recommended for you

Say Ello to the new privacy debate on social media

22 hours ago

Ello is new social networking space on the web that is receiving a lot of attention of late – so much that it's caused a few problems with the website out of action from time to time. ...

Post-Snowden, iPhone 6 encryption fans safety debate

Sep 28, 2014

Encryption technology in the iPhone 6 has taken root in a scales-of-justice debate between privacy supporters and public safety officials. Apple is using a more advanced encryption technology.

'Anti-Facebook' social network gets viral surge

Sep 28, 2014

In a matter of days, the new social network Ello, described as the "anti-Facebook" for its stand on privacy and advertising, has become perhaps the hottest ticket on the Internet.

User comments : 0