Google faces suit over proposed privacy policy

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The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed suit in federal court seeking to compel the Federal Trade Commission to stop Google from enacting its new privacy policy prior to March 1, when Google will combine its more than 60 privacy policies into a single document. The proposed changes would allow Google to combine user data from multiple Google properties without the users' consent.

EPIC says in its filing that these changes violate the Google consent order with the FTC, signed Oct. 13, 2011, which, “bars Google from misrepresenting the company's privacy practices, requires the company to obtain users' consent before disclosing personal data, and requires the company to develop and comply with a comprehensive privacy program.”

According to the suit, Google is required to keep information about a user of a given Google service separate from that of other services. It also says users will have no opt-out option.

“We take privacy very seriously," a Google spokesperson told SCMagazine.com on Monday in an email. "We're happy to engage in constructive conversations about our updated Privacy Policy but EPIC is wrong on the facts and the law. We're keeping [users'] private information private – we're not changing how any personal information is shared outside of Google. We've undertaken the most extensive notification effort in Google's history to ensure that users have many opportunities and ample time to learn about our Privacy Policy changes. And we're continuing to offer choice and control over how people use Google services. We've created a world-class privacy compliance program, as we're confident our third-party assessments will demonstrate.”
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