The Trials and Tribulations of Google Buzz - The Complaints Keep Rolling In
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The high-profile court case mentioned previously is disastrous enough for Google, but that’s not the end of it. Just one week after Google Buzz was released, a Harvard law student filed a class action lawsuit against Google, claiming that the service violates federal laws meant to protect privacy. Later the same day, the organization EPIC filed their complaint with FTC.
Previous to these cases being filed, some heavy hitters, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an organization working to protect fundamental rights “regardless of technology,” blasted Google in public statements. In response to the uproar over Google Buzz, the EFF said, “These problems arose because Google attempted to overcome its market disadvantage in competing with Twitter and Facebook by making a secondary use of your information. Google leveraged information gathered in a popular service (Gmail) with a new service (Buzz), and set a default to sharing your email contacts to maximize uptake of the service. In the process, the privacy of Google users was overlooked and ultimately compromised.”
Surely there are some who are saying that it makes sense that Americans, who are known to live in a highly litigious society, are filing complaints and inspiring court cases, but America isn’t the only country taking issue with Google Buzz’s invasion of its user’s privacy.
Days before the court cases and complaints in America were filed, Jennifer Stoddart, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, issued a statement about Buzz that read, “We have seen a storm of protest and outrage over alleged privacy violations and my office also has questions why Google Buzz did not meet the requirements of privacy law in Canada. Our office has a variety of resources available to help companies build privacy into their products and services, which enables them to avoid the problems Google Buzz has seen in recent days."
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