Court Battles Increase Before Google Change

Groups, government warring over privacy policy changes

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Court Battles Increase Before Google ChangeA consumer group and the federal government are currently at odds over the proposed sweeping privacy changes for Google's various online services.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center and Federal Trade Commission have both been hard at work in recent months filing various motions related to the rollout of Google's new privacy policy, and the action has been particularly strong in the days leading up to the change, according to a report from ZD Net. In particular, EPIC objects to the FTC's recent decision that Google's policy changes are not subject to judicial review, and has sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the policy being put into place.

However, the FTC, which is being represented in court by the U.S. Department of Justice, says that it does not have to enforce its recent privacy settlement with the Web giant, which was finalized on October 11, 2011, the report said. That case was related to Google's use of deceptive practices as part of its Buzz social service.

Earlier this year, Google announced that it would alter its current privacy policies so that instead of having individual plans for all its various services - including Gmail, Google Plus, Calendars, Docs, and so forth - it would have one large, overarching policy in place, the report said. EPIC is not alone in trying to stop this proposed change, which is scheduled to take place on March 1. The Center for Digital Democracy also sent a letter to the FTC asking it to find state that Google violated its earlier consent order, as well as conduct an investigation into the policy change and postpone the new policy rollout.

Eduard Goodman, chief privacy officer for Identity Theft 911, maintains a blog about privacy issues facing consumers when they use online services.

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