Privacy complaint filed against Google Buzz

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed an official complaint against Google's Buzz service which played fast and loose with people's personal details.

The privacy watchdog has asked the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate how Google was allowed to get away with exposing "deeply personal information", including the names and email addresses of estranged spouses, current lovers, attorneys and doctors.

The Buzz social networking service, which was launched on February 9th, was immediately attacked by users and red-faced Google engineers rushed to plug the privacy holes before too much damage was done.

People found that publically-viewable networking lists had automatically been populated with information gleaned from Google's Gmail service without asking their permission.

Epic's complaint focuses on the unfair and deceptive trade practices of Google with respect to Google’s transformation of an email service to a social networking service without offering Gmail users meaningful control over their information or opt-in consent.

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.