Submission Number: 00255
Received: 5/2/2011 12:00:00 AM
Commenter: Seth Shich
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter Google, Inc. (Google Buzz), File No. 1023136
Attachments: No Attachments
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.
As part of the Comprehensive Privacy Program, the FTC should not require Google to do anything whatsoever. I am, actually, a happy user of Google. I feel that the services they provide--search, maps, etc--have been invaluable. I am not terribly worried about "privacy" concerns in the same that others are; I think it is rather overblown. To the extent they do collect data about users, I believe that this generally enhances the quality of their services. For instance, a search engine that has the capability not just to search for the terms a user inputs but, also, to cull webpages that are particularly relevant to the specific meaning users attach to those words based on their previous searches and selections is enormously helpful. There are other examples.
In short, I do not feel that any additional constraints or regulations should be imposed on Google at this time.