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EPIC files 'emergency appeal' to stop Google privacy change

updated 02:00 am EST, Tue February 28, 2012

Says FTC not enforcing its own consent order

Hoping for a last-chance shot at stopping -- at least temporarily -- the privacy policy changes Google plans to implement on March 1st, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has said it will appeal a court ruling that it has no standing in the FTC's ability to enforce a consent order against Google, TechCrunch reports. The group claims that Google has not complied with the consent order and that the FTC are ignoring this.

The group claims that the consolidation of privacy policies is a violation of the consent order, which required that users have the ability to "opt in" or "opt out" of any tracking or information collection Google wants to do in conjunction with its offerings. The FTC's position on the matter is they alone have jurisdiction to decide if Google is in compliance and can take action if it seems warranted. The court later agreed with this, saying it could not force the FTC to apply the consent order.

Google's plan to unify its privacy policies across all its products and services allows it to consolidate what it knows about users and raises questions about how it will safeguard the data from being abused, questions Google has been uncooperative in answering. Both the US Congress and 36 attorneys general have also raised concerns about Google's plans.

The advertising and search giant has recently been caught bypassing privacy policies in a number of browsers, including Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer in order to collect information on users' movements on the internet. EPIC says that Google has consistently avoided explaining what impact the privacy changes will have on users and demonstrated that it still harbors nefarious intentions.

by MacNN Staff



  1. MadGoat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Do no evil... What happened man?

  1. HappySlug

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It happens to them all

    "Do no evil... What happened man?"

    This happens to every company once it reaches a certain size. Happened to AOL and many others. They start out being about something other than pure profit but at some point, often when it goes public though sometimes before, the company transitions from up-and-coming business to 'Corporation'. At that point focus shifts from the customer to the market. Quarterly earnings are everything and this requires them to shift policies to focus on maximizing profit and the customer becomes just a 'Consumer.' Just a source of revenue. It's exceedingly rare for a company to become hugely successful and not walk across that threshold. Even Apple has been stepping over the line here and there in recent years.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: It happens to them all

    Even Apple has been stepping over the line here and there in recent years.


    AppStore restrictions, mostly iOS and now Mac. Holding back on USB 3 to promote their own tech. Not allowing third-party mag-safe connectors. Siri on the iPhone 4s only, just to help push more sales of the phone (as if it is something people want). Completely ignoring the professional desktop (MacPro hasn't been updated in 2 years, and yet they still dare charge the same price for the beast as they did when it was brand new. Seriously?). Weird design decisions (MBP 15" isn't pro enough for an expresscard slot, but the 17" is, but 'too' pro to have a sd slot. Wish Apple could figure out how to do both). Arbitrary support decisions with no explanations to users. Complete non-committal on many support policies (for example, how long will leopard be updated with security fixes). Forced Mac OS upgrades to get some software (for example, iBook Author requires Lion - oh, but I'm sure there's a good reason not associated to Apple trying to force Lion down users throats). Arbitrary pleas that some proprietary tech is bad (adobe flash bad, must be banned!) and yet have no problems keeping their own stuff proprietary (fairplay, for example). Supposedly found religion and decided DRM on music was bad and 'forced' the labels to go DRM-free, yet we still have it on video, and now added to apps in the app store.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Forgot that Apple also has the right to use your current location to push 'relevant' ads to you, has no policy about how THEY will use your information (they say they won't give it to other parties, but now that Apple is in the ad business, they need to be more clear).

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