Google apologises for Buzz’s data privacy

Google-Buzz

If you thought the fuss around the appalling launch of Google Buzz – however many light years away that was – has died down think again. Authorities in the USA have obviously tried to wield a bit of a big stick at Google hence this bit of Mea Culpa appearing on the company’s blog this week:

“User trust really matters to Google. That’s why we try to be clear about what data we collect and how we use it—and to give people real control over the information they share with us …

“That said, we don’t always get everything right. The launch of Google Buzz fell short of our usual standards for transparency and user control—letting our users and Google down. While we worked quickly to make improvements, regulators—including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission—unsurprisingly wanted more detail about what went wrong and how we could prevent it from happening again.

“Today, we’ve reached an agreement with the FTC to address their concerns. We’ll receive an independent review of our privacy procedures once every two years, and we’ll ask users to give us affirmative consent before we change how we share their personal information.

“We’d like to apologize again for the mistakes we made with Buzz. While today’s announcement thankfully put this incident behind us, we are 100 percent focused on ensuring that our new privacy procedures effectively protect the interests of all our users going forward.”

Maybe some people aren’t happy with a two year review but it’s a start. I wonder if Facebook will be the next to face the FTC?

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Kevin Tea is a journalist and marketing communications professional who has worked for some of the leading blue chip companies in the UK and Europe. In the 1990s he became interested in how emerging Internet-based technologies could change the way that people worked and became an administrator on the Telework Europa Forum on CompuServe. With other colleagues he took part in a four year European Commission sponsored project to look at the way that the Internet could benefit remote communities. His blog is a resource for SMEs who want to use cloud computing and Web 2.0 technologies.