Group files FTC complaint against Google for privacy changes

22. Februar 2012
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission should force Google to halt its plan to consolidate user identities across its services and fine the company for violating an October privacy settlement with the agency, privacy group the Center for Digital Democracy said in a complaint filed Wednesday.

GoogleGoogle is not making the changes to its privacy policy to provide convenience to users, as it claims, but to better track them and deliver targeted advertising, the CDD complaint said. "Google has communicated its real plans to expand data targeting throughout all it services, and to better compete against FacebookFacebook, to its advertising customers," said Jeffrey Chester, CDD's executive director. "They have failed to tell the truth to consumers." Alles zu Facebook auf CIO.de Alles zu Google auf CIO.de

The FTC should require Google to "accurately and honestly" inform users about the reason for the changes, Chester wrote in his complaint.

Even though Google has not yet rolled out the privacy changes, its plans violate an FTC settlement over Google's aborted Buzz rollout, Chester said. The Buzz settlement allows the FTC to assess fines of US$16,000 per violation and applies to "future actions," according to the FTC.

The plan, announced in January, is "a digital fait accompli, so to speak," Chester said.

Separately, 36 state attorneys general raised concerns about Google's new privacy policy in a letter to the company Wednesday. Google's new privacy policy is "troubling for a number of reasons," said the letter, signed by the attorneys general of Washington state, Illinois, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, among others.