A New York man is suing Google, accusing the company of violating his privacy by exposing his Gmail contacts to the public without his consent. Barry Feldman filed his complaint April 5 in a San Jose, Calif., court, alleging that Google automatically triggered the Buzz collaboration program from his e-mail account and revealed e-mail contacts stored in his Google profile to other Gmail users.
Despite efforts to patch up privacy holes, Google Buzz continues to gain the
wrong type of attention for Google. A New York
man is suing the search engine for violating his privacy by exposing his Gmail
contacts to the public without his consent.
Google Buzz, launched Feb. 9,
lets users post comments, links,
photos and videos for Gmail users' contacts to see. These contacts can then
make their own comments and a social dialogue ensues.
However, initially, Gmail contacts were made public on Buzz users' Google
profiles. This upset users, forcing Google to backpedal to make contacts
auto-suggest instead of auto-follow and add several other privacy controls.
Still, the Electronic Privacy
lodged a complaint
with the Federal Trade Commission and a Florida
woman Feb. 17 filed a class action suit
court, claiming Google broke the law by exposing personal data without her
New York resident Barry
Feldman filed his complaint April 5 in the same San Jose,
Calif., court, according to Bloomberg.
Feldman alleged that Google automatically activated the Buzz program from
his e-mail account and displayed his e-mail contacts and other information
stored in his Google profile to other Gmail users.
He further said Google's changes "do not go far enough," and the
error "already caused damage because the Buzz program disclosed private
user information the moment Google launched the service."
A Google spokesperson told eWEEK, "We can't comment on the suit until
we've had a chance to review it."
The suit comes as Google continues to work on the service's privacy and to fortify
its efficiency as a layer built on top of Gmail. Google April 5 began
displaying a confirmation settings page
for users who had signed up
for the service early, allowing them to pick and choose from people Google
suggested that they follow.
Google April 6 said its Gmail for Mobile now shows Buzz comments
in the inbox, so Buzz
users will see comments on their smartphones the same way they see Buzz posted
in the desktop version of Gmail, and will be able to comment on Buzz posts or
mark them "like."
Google also recently improved comment collapsing in Buzz
to eliminate some of the
noise and chunks of comments users leave in active posts.
These changes are fine for Google, but the complaints from EPIC
lawmakers have reportedly spurred the FTC to look at the service.