Google Buzz gets reported to the FTC

Despite changes Google made to privacy settings in its social notworking tool Buzz, privacy advocate, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has gone ahead and filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The complaint said that Google was operating unfair and deceptive trade practices by changing its Gmail service to a social networking service without asking its users for consent.

EPIC said: “The complaint argues that Google’s change in business practices and service terms violated user privacy expectations, diminished user privacy, contradicted Google’s own privacy policy, and may have also violated federal wiretap laws.”

The complaint focuses on the importance of email privacy alleging that “improper disclosure of even a limited amount of subscriber information by an email service provider can be a violation of both state and federal law.”

Gmail, EPIC continued, include deeply personal information – that includes the names and emails of estranged spouses, lovers, attorneys and doctors.

The activation of Buzz disclosed not only parts of users’ contact lists. “The fact that the auto-following lists were composed of users’ most common Gmail contacts was widely known and publicized, as well as easily deduced by individual users,” claimed EPIC.