Ten countries urge privacy changes at Google
Wednesday 21 April 2010
Data protection and privacy chiefs from 10 countries issued a joint letter pushing search engine giant Google to improve respect for data privacy, Canada's Office of the Privacy Commissioner said yesterday.
The heads of data protection authorities in Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and Britain issued a letter whose criticism focused on the botched roll-out of Google's Buzz.
In introducing the new service in February, Google melded existing Gmail accounts with its new service Buzz, thus exposing Gmail contacts to other Buzz users. Google has made changes to Buzz to take into account the criticism.
But the privacy chiefs argued that the problem should never have occurred.
"(W)e are increasingly concerned that, too often, the privacy rights of the world's citizens are being forgotten as Google rolls out new technological applications. We were disturbed by your recent roll-out of the Google Buzz social networking application, which betrayed a disappointing disregard for fundamental privacy norms and laws," said the letter, which was addressed to Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt.
In the letter, which also noted previous privacy controversies over Google Street View, the privacy chiefs called on Google to collect as little information about users as is practicable, to inform users about how their information will be used, to ensure privacy controls are easy to find and easy to use, among other steps.
"While we hear corporations such as Google pay lip service to privacy, we don't always see this reflected in the launch of new products," Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said in a statement.
Google said it tries "very hard to be upfront about the data we collect, and how we use it, as well as to build meaningful controls into our products."
"Of course we do not get everything 100 per cent right - that is why we acted so quickly on Buzz following the user feedback we received," a spokesman said in an emailed statement.
Life & Style blogs
Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
Inside A&E: The highs, the lows, and the grief is something that echoes across all hospitals around the world
Rita Ora reveals all – from her 24 tattoos to what she likes to wear when no-one's looking
American Apparel’s model agency leaked casting call saying it wants ‘real models’ not ‘Instagram hoes’
Masterpieces of Fashion Photography exhibition showcases previously unreleased images by legendary photographers like Horst
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Council tenant wins right not to be sent to Milton Keynes
- 1 Andreas Lubitz: Who is Germanwings co-pilot who 'locked out captain and crashed flight 9525'?
- 2 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 3 Germanwings crash: Descent may have been 'deliberate, suicidal choice' by pilot, claims experts
- 4 Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
- 5 Video shows what happens when lava is poured onto ice
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...
£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Consultant trainee opportunit...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...
£17000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Technical Analyst required for ...