Google: FTC orders 20 years of consumer privacy protections
03/30/2011 - "In a landmark action that could change the way many Web companies handle users' personal information, the Federal Trade Commission charged Google with using deceptive tactics when it launched its social network, Google Buzz, and ordered the company to adopt stringent privacy rules and face independent audits of its practices for the next 20 years.
The ruling is expected to resonate through the social networking industry, and is the first time the FTC has ordered an Internet company to implement a comprehensive program to protect consumer information. While the consent order affects only Google, FTC officials suggested Wednesday that other Internet companies should follow suit...
The FTC said Google violated its privacy policies by taking personal information it collected when consumers signed up for Gmail and using it for a completely different kind of service - the Buzz social network - without first getting permission from users. Since then, Google says it has already put in place internal controls that make extensive discussions on consumer privacy part of the development of all new products, placing itself in compliance with the FTC order.
While analysts said they don't see a significant impact on Google's revenues from the FTC action, they agreed the landmark action could have significant ramifications for other online social networks, particularly Facebook...
Google did not acknowledge breaking the law by agreeing to the consent decree..."