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Google must undergo privacy reviews for next 20 years

Google will be subject to privacy audits for the next 20 years, following charges that it violated its own privacy promises.

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Google Buzz, its social messaging platform, sparked complaints, including about the public listing of users’ frequent Gmail contacts and the inability to be fully removed from the social network.

The complaints were upheld by the Federal Trade Commission, leading to today’s agreement, which will see Google undergo a privacy review once every two years for the next 20 years.

Google responded through its blog, saying, “We don’t always get everything right. The launch of Google Buzz fell short of our usual standards for transparency and user control, letting our users and Google down.”

The company says it has reached an agreement with the FTC to address concerns and in future will ask users to give consent before their personal information is shared.

This is the latest in a string of privacy complaints for Google. Last year Buzz members sued for violation of privacy, with Google settling by pledging to support privacy organisations and education. It was also fined for gathering personal data for its Streetview service. This latest incident is likely to fuel an already raging debate over privacy concerns in the EU.

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