FTC Settles Google Buzz Privacy Complaint, Calls for 'Regular, Independent Privacy Audits for the Next 20 Years'

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Google reached a settlement about Google Buzz's deceptive privacy practices. The FTC gave the bill unanimous support (the vote was 4 - 0) in the official vote this month.Under the settlement, Google agreed to prominently disclose when it transfers user information to third parties, identify the kind of third […]

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Google reached a settlement about Google Buzz's deceptive privacy practices. The FTC gave the bill unanimous support (the vote was 4 - 0) in the official vote this month.

Under the settlement, Google agreed to prominently disclose when it transfers user information to third parties, identify the kind of third parties receiving the data and explain the purposes of sharing the data. The disclosures would come apart from the company's standard end-user license agreement.

The agreement also requires biennial assessments of its privacy safeguards by an independent third-party professional.

The FTC said the agreement represents the first settlement order that mandates a comprehensive Internet privacy program and the first time the agency alleged a violation of the U.S.-EU safe harbor framework, which covers personal data exchanged between the U.S. and European Union.

FTC and Google Buzz Settlement

This is the first time an FTC settlement order has required a company to implement a comprehensive privacy program to protect the privacy of consumers' information…

The settlement bars [Google] from future privacy misrepresentations, requires it to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy audits for the next 20 years.

"We didn't get everything right with the Buzz launch and look forward to putting this behind us now that the FTC has finalized our agreement," the company said in a statement.

The full FTC settlement is embedded below: