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Google settles with FTC over Google Buzz privacy violations

Google agreed to an unprecedented settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, where the FTC asserted that Google used deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy policies through its social network Google Buzz. Although there is no monetary penalty attached to the settlement, Google is required to execute a comprehensive privacy program that includes privacy audits every once every two years for twenty years. Twenty years! If you aren't familiar with the case, during its launch Google Buzz asked existing Gmail users if they wanted to check out Google Buzz or go straight to their email inbox. Apparently it didn't really matter - either way you were being opted into Google Buzz. In fact, even when users chose to "Turn Off Buzz," it didn't fully remove you from the network.

Under the currently proposed settlement, besides the two decades of audits, Google will also be required to get user consent before sharing any information with third parties. This is particularly applies to times when Google changes its services in a way that results information sharing that violates any privacy assurances made when the user opted in.

You can read the FTC's full statement here.