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Officials from Germany, Canada, France and seven other countries are raising privacy concerns about Google's mapping service and the company's fumbled foray into social networking.
Although the concerns they raise are not new, the officials said the online search leader "too often" forgets people's privacy rights as it rolls out new technologies.
The bulk of the complaints are over Buzz, which Google launched in February as part of its Gmail service. Buzz quickly came under fire for automatically creating public circles of friends for users, based on their most frequent e-mail contacts. After complaints, the company apologized and made changes to the service.
But in the letter sent Monday to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, privacy and data-protection officials from the 10 countries said they are still "extremely concerned about how a product with such significant privacy issues was launched in the first place."
they seem to actually care about privacy concerns
The officials called on Google to create default settings that protect users' privacy and to ensure that privacy control settings are prominent and easy to use.
Automatically opt all users in
Google's roving Street View spycam may blur your face, but it's got your number. The Street View service is under fire in Germany for scanning private WLAN networks, and recording users' unique Mac (Media Access Control) addresses, as the car trundles along.
Germany's Federal Commissioner for Data Protection Peter Schaar says he's "horrified" by the discovery.
"I am appalled… I call upon Google to delete previously unlawfully collected personal data on the wireless network immediately and stop the rides for Street View,"
Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they have something to hide. And when there's nowhere left to hide...?