Thursday, April 21, 2011
1:00 pm EDT
Access code 65889#
GROUPS URGE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION TO "FIX GOOGLE PRIVACY"
"Historic Opportunity for Public Comment on Future of Online Privacy"
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Representatives of leading privacy, consumer, and library organizations will host a conference call with the media at 1 pm EDT Thursday, April 21 to discuss the significance of the Federal Trade Commission's recent order in the Google Buzz matter and the opportunity for public comment.
On March 31, 2011, the FTC and Google entered into a nine-part consent order arising from the problems with Google Buzz, the now largely defunct social networking service that the company tried to launch in early 2010. Many Gmail users objected to the fact that Google made their personal email addresses widely available with the launch of the service.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a public interest research center in Washington, DC, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC then launched an investigation and reached a proposed agreement with Google to safeguard user privacy.
One of the key provisions in the Order requires Google to establish a "Comprehensive Privacy Program." Another gives the FTC authority to require independent audits of Google's business practices for a 20-year period.
The Order is also subject to public comment. The organizations say that this provides a historic opportunity for the public to provide details on key requirements for the Comprehensive Privacy Program. These requirements could require Google to
- Endorse Do Not Track
- Protect Reader Privacy
- Delete Search Histories
- Encrypt the Cloud
- Require Search Warrants
- Stop Spy-Fi
- Untether Android Users
Marc Rotenberg, EPIC President, said, "The FTC and Google both need to hear from the public about how best to protect online privacy. This is a great opportunity for public comment."
Mr. Rotenberg said further, "We also believe whatever standards are established for Google should be put in place for all Internet firms."
Jeff Chester, Executive Director of the Center for Digital Democracy, said "Public comments on Google and privacy will have far-reaching significance for the future of online privacy."
The speakers participating in the press conference include: Jeff Chester, Center for Digital Democracy; Beth Givens, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse; Susan Grant, Consumer Federation of America; Barbara Jones, the American Library Association; Mary Minow, Librarylaw.com; Ed Mierzwinski, US PIRG; Marc Roteberg, EPIC; and, John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog.
Comments must be filed by May 2, 2011. EPIC has set up a webpage to facilitate public comments. The FTC will also receive comments directly.
Fix Google Privacy Campaign
FTC, "Analysis of Proposed Consent Order to Aid Public Comment
In the Matter of Google Inc., File No. 1023136,"
FTC Press Release, "FTC Charges Deceptive Privacy Practices in
Google's Rollout of Its Buzz Social Network," March 31, 2011
Federal Register Notice, "Proposed Consent Agreement," April 5, 2011