Watchdog: Google Buzz Skirted Wiretap Laws

Group files complaint with FTC, wants more changes
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2010 2:30 PM CST
Watchdog: Google Buzz Skirted Wiretap Laws
In this screen shot provided by Google Inc., the company's new "Google Buzz" feature for Gmail is shown.   (AP Photo)

A watchdog group has filed a formal complaint with the FTC over Google’s much-derided launch of Buzz. The Electronic Privacy Information Center wants the FTC to order more sweeping protections than Google itself has subsequently unveiled, and it suggests the search giant violated wiretapping laws.

Essentially, EPIC contends that Google should not have automatically signed up all its email customers for Buzz—an attempt to jump-start the new social network with an infusion of 37 million users. “E-mail is for private messages,” an EPIC exec tells MSNBC, while social networking is more public. “Google tried to turn e-mail into social networking, and that's where they ran into trouble.” EPIC wants Buzz to be a fully opt-in service, and for Google to cease using Gmail contacts to populate follower lists. (Read more Electronic Privacy Information Center stories.)

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