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FTC Imposes 20 Years Of Privacy Audits On Google

The Federal Trade Commission has accused Google of using “deceptive tactics” with the launch of its social networking service Google Buzz, and has imposed regular audits on the company to ensure customer privacy is not breached.

Launched as an extension to Gmail, the initial days of Buzz seemed to pose a serious threat to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Instead, it somehow ended up being a threat to its own users, by making them unintentionally broadcast their personal information such as telephone numbers, office, or even home addresses etc.

Although the FTC didn’t go to the extent of imposing a fine on Google, it certainly made sure that the company implements immediate changes to its privacy policy and undergoes third party audits every two years for the next 20 years. However, the trade commission did confirm that any further violation of its users privacy would cost the Mountain View, California firm a heavy price.

This development will certainly make Facebook, which in the past has come in for similar sort of accusations a number of times, rethink its own privacy policies also.

Google has just launched a feature similar to Facebook 'likes', called +1 on its search engine, allowing users to make publicly visible recommendations.