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The Government of Canada taking a closer look at the privacy implications of Google Buzz, USA Next?

After the launch of Google Buzz, it’s facing lots of obstacles. Now the Canadian Government is concerned about the privacy settings of Buzz. Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner is investigating about the issue. According to CBC News, the office may issue further comment on Wednesday. On the other side, the Electronic Privacy Information Center in USA has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Can you remember the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada? it’s the same office that prompted Facebook to change their privacy of the sharing of the user information. Now they are on the same path to take a closer look at the privacy implications of Google Buzz. With Facebook, the privacy commissioner was concerned about the social networking storing user information after users deleted their accounts, eventually prompting a number of policy and feature changes at the site that have been implemented worldwide.

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Now with Google Buzz, the things will be more controversial. Specially, the way it automatically finds out the users based on the your e-mail correspondence. Google has been criticized strongly by the users for this.

CBS news reported that:

Valerie Lawton, a spokeswoman for the privacy office, said the office is looking into concerns about Buzz.

“We understand the public concern about privacy issues related to Google Buzz,” she said. “Our office is looking at the issue.”

Lawton added that the office may comment further on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Electronic Privacy Information Center has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, asking the government agency to open an investigation into Buzz. The complaint (PDF download) accuses Google of converting “the private, personal information of Gmail subscribers into public information for the company’s social network service Google Buzz. This change in business practices and service terms violated user privacy expectations, diminished user privacy, contradicted Google’s own privacy policy, and may have also violated federal wiretap laws.”

The complaint recognizes that Google has made changes to Buzz in response to the loud backlash that surrounded its launch last week. But EPIC says those changes aren’t enough and asks the FTC to take four actions against Google:

Compel Google to make Google Buzz a fully opt-in service for Gmail users;

Compel Google to cease using Gmail users’ private address book contacts to compile social networking lists;

Compel Google to give Google Buzz users more control over their information, by allowing users to accept or reject followers from the outset; and

Provide such other relief as the Commission finds necessary and appropriate.

Speaking to the BBC, Google admitted that its testing of Google Buzz before launch was insufficient. Google relied solely on internal testing rather than opening Buzz to a larger group of testers outside the company.

Many of the firm’s new services are tested by the so-called Google Trusted Tester program, a network of friends and family of Google employees who are given confidential access to products before they launch.

Buzz was not tested by this program.

In response to the EPIC complaint yesterday, a Google spokesperson told the LA Times that Google “welcome[s] dialogue with EPIC and appreciate[s] hearing directly from them about their concerns.” We have an email in to Google seeking comment about the Canadian government’s investigation and will update this post with any response we get.

Source: CBC News, Search Engine Land

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