The FTC has announced that it has reached a settlement with Google over privacy concerns stemming from the Google Buzz social network in 2010. The FTC says that Google provided inadequate options for declining or leaving Buzz, embedded in the Gmail service. Users identity and contacts were made public without their consent and controls to limit this were found to be hard to find and confusing to use.
“When companies make privacy pledges, they need to honor them,” said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC. “This is a tough settlement that ensures that Google will honor its commitments to consumers and build strong privacy protections into all of its operations.”
Google must now receive permission before sharing any information with a third-party, must implement a comprehensive privacy program and must hire an outside auditor every other year for the next 20 years to ensure the policy is followed.