Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter Google, Inc. (Google Buzz), File No. 1023136
To the FTC, I am submitting this comment on the proposed consent order, In the Matter of Google Inc., File No. 1023136, between the FTC and Google. The consent order comes as a result of the complaint filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center ("EPIC") regarding the privacy breach to Gmail users caused by Google Buzz. The FTC complaint, which draws heavily on the complaint EPIC filed with the agency, alleges that Google employed unfair and deceptive practices when it launched the Google Buzz social networking service. I strongly support the FTC settlement agreement, which applies to all Google products and services, including Gmail and Google Buzz. It bans Google from misrepresenting its privacy policies in the future, requires independent privacy audits every two-years for the next 20 years, and requires that Google institute a comprehensive privacy program to safeguard its users data and personal information. The FTC settlement should be broadly applicable to other on-line marketers and services. Cries of "we'll look marketing money" should be ignored and consumer privacy protected against such tactics. For example, I recently received a notice from BANK OF AMERICA that they were changing their policies and would now share my private information with marketers unless I opted out. Of course, my bank has nearly all my private information - credit, names, e-mails, phones, and other private information I don't give to anyone else. I tried to "Opt out" by going to the BANK OF AMERICA website, but the process was very long and required me to provide a lot of additional private information first, and provide all account numbers (we have several with BOA) before I could "Opt out". So I tried a phone call, another option given in the mailing, and was somewhat successful, except that all our bank accounts are joint accounts, and I was informed that the "Bank Policy" was that I could only opt out for myself, and my husband would have to call or go on-line and go through the same process. I am an attorney, and found the notice wordy and unconciounable, and between us we had to spend over an hour to (hopefully) ensure that our BANK OF AMERICA did not sell or share our private information with marketers. We should not have to go through that with every provider we deal with on-line. L. Ruiter, Seattle.