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Public interest group sues Google to block new privacy policy

Dan Graziano
February 9th, 2012 at 8:45 PM

A public interest group asked a federal judge on Wednesday to block Google from changing its privacy policy, reports Reuters. The lawsuit comes from the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which claims the search giant is in violation of a consent agreement made with U.S. regulator last March. The group is asking a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Google in the hopes that the Federal Trade Commission will enforce the consent agreement. “The Court must act now to prevent irreparable injury to EPIC and the public,” the group said in its court filing. Read on for more.

Google announced last month that it would combine individual privacy policies from a variety of its products into one main policy. Critics of the change were worried that Google was collecting more data, however the company ensured users that it is “not collecting any new or additional data about users,” a claim EPIC disagrees with. The group states that aggregated data would give advertisers access to information about users that they never had before, such as logged-in users’ YouTube search histories. “Thus, Google will share new or additional information with third-party advertisers without first obtaining ‘express affirmative consent’ from Google users,” EPIC noted in court documents.

A Google spokesman said the company had not seen the filing and could not comment on the specifics. He did add, however, that “protecting people’s privacy is something we think about all day across the company and we welcome discussions about our approach.”

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