International Data Protection Authorities Protest Buzz


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It looks like Google isn't going to be able to put Buzz's initial privacy problems behind it anytime soon.  Late yesterday, representatives from Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, and the UK all signed a letter expressing concerns about the service and Google's privacy practices in general.

GoogleThe data protection authorities weren't too hard on Eric Schmidt (to whom the open letter was addressed); they recognized that Google's participated in many discussions regarding privacy, and that the company's just one of many operating in a similar fashion.  Also, they applauded the manner in which Google responded to complaints about Buzz.

Still, what follows is definitely the takeaway point: "It is unacceptable to roll out a product that unilaterally renders personal information public, with the intention of repairing problems later as they arise.  Privacy cannot be sidelined in the rush to introduce new technologies to online audiences around the world."

Then the data protection authorities later stated that they'd "like to receive a response indicating how Google will ensure that privacy and data protection requirements are met before the launch of future products."

So it looks like Google will face a lot more international scrutiny due to its mishandling of Buzz's launch, even if the company isn't hit with any immediate sanctions or fines.