Google Responds To EPIC Lawsuit

    February 9, 2012

Earlier this afternoon we brought you news that the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) had filed suit against the FTC to block the rollout of Google’s new privacy policy. EPIC claims that the new policy violates a consent order entered into by Google in October 2011. That order dealt with Google Buzz, and prevented Google from combining user data. EPIC is seeking a preliminary injunction and a restraining order preventing Google’s new privacy policy from going into effect on the 1st of March as planned.

Not long after the earlier story ran, Google responded to my request for comment. Here’s what a Google spokesperson had to say:

We take privacy very seriously. 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 your 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.
  • The response is a little short on specifics – i.e., Google doesn’t explain how “EPIC is wrong on the facts and the law” – and the bullet points are similar to the one’s we’ve seen here and here, and the statement Google made here. Reading between the lines, it looks like Google thinks all the hubbub over their new privacy policy is much ado about nothing. Personally, I’m inclined to agree.

    What do you think? Let us know in the comments.