Google Settles With FTC – Agrees To Have Privacy Practices Monitored For Next 20 Years


After being investigated for various privacy concerns related directly to the now defunct Google Buzz, today, Google has finally reached a agreement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The settlement calls for Google to be audited for the next 20 years.

According to the FTC, Google was involved in sketchy practices back when they launched Google Buzz back in 2010 for not allowing Gmail users to easily opt-out of contact sharing. The FTC said in a statement,

“In response to the Buzz launch, Google received thousands of complaints from consumers who were concerned about public disclosure of their email contacts which included, in some cases, ex-spouses, patients, students, employers, or competitors.”

The FTC’s settlement with Google requires “G” to obtain user consent before it shares any information with third parties. It also leaves Google open to 20 years of privacy audits every 2 years by an independent 3rd party monitoring service. In an email Google’s Senior Manager of Global Communications Chris Gaither said,

“We’ve strengthened many of our internal privacy and security controls over the past year. For example, in October we appointed longtime Google engineer Alma Whitten to director of privacy across product management and engineering. We’ve increased privacy training for all our employees. We’ve tightened our compliance controls for those who deal with sensitive data. And last fall, we added a new process to our existing privacy review system requiring every engineering project leader to maintain a Privacy Design Document for each initiative they are working on. This document records how user data is handled and is subject to regular review.”

This should help Android users sleep well at night with all the information Google has on us at their disposal. Everything from where you live, what eat, to credit cards and personal information — it’s nice to know our information is safe. For now.

[Via Electronista]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Google doesn’t know where “I” live. They know where my email address lives. They can’t “really” link a face to my email. They would have to make an educated guess on “who” owns that account, and that guess would be 99%+1% accurate. :P

    Such a fiendish work around. eL oh eL

    1. It’s called “GPS.” Ever heard of it? Or how about cell phone tower triangulation? Ever heard of that? Match that up to where you are regularly during the night, and they know exactly where you live. Not that it matters anyway. 15 years ago everybody’s personal address and phone number was listed in the local white pages.

      1. eL oh eL!! IKR!? The yellow pages. The fact that you can easily go to some website and search for people means it doesn’t really matter anymore.

        IDC though. I have every location service known to Google turned on. :P It makes all my searches more relevant, and I’ve found a lot of knew cool stuff I never knew about. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I clicked the 2nd Google page in searches. o.O

    2. Have any of your friends put your pic on their Android phone’s contact list?

      Just wondering…

      1. That is a must. I’m like the only person in my friends Evo who has their picture. :P

    3. If you use their services, Google knows all about you. Don’t be fooled.

      1. LoL!! IKR!? I have every location service turned on. :P

        I don’t care though. I don’t know why it really matters anyways. What? Google is going to come to my house and search for something?

        1. That’s because you’re still a kid . Once you grow up, get a real job, start making real money and start investing that money, you’ll care a little more about what kind of information is floating around online about you.

          1. You know what? That’s probably true. Kuz right now I’m just another college student. Hmm…

  2. “What eat” lol

    Yea, Google has a LOT of information but as ratnok said all of your information can be found in then white pages. Go to and take a look.

    1. I just found my mom, her age, our zip code with the extra 4 numbers at the end that makes it MORE exact, and our address. Oh wow. The ultimate stalkers page. o.O

      And then it had the nerve to put the place marker on the mini-map in the wrong place. MoFo please. That small diversion will only slow a stalker like 10 seconds. -_-

      And people complain about Google. :P

  3. The US Govt makes regular requests for information from Google and Facebook. Google has been a partner with the govt in various initiatives that have the goal of compromising your privacy. So it’s more than a question of what Google Inc. will do with your data that you should be concerned about.

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