Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has accepted as final a settlement with Google, and authorized the staff to provide responses to the commenters of record. The settlement resolves charges that Google used deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy promises to consumers when it launched its social network, Google Buzz, in 2010. The agency alleged that the practices violate the FTC Act. The settlement bars the company from future privacy misrepresentations, requires it to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy audits for the next 20 years.
The Commission vote approving the final settlement was 4-0. (FTC File No. 102-3136; the staff contact is Katherine Race Brin, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2106; see press release dated March 30, 2011.)