February 9, 2012
Privacy advocates on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit aimed at forcing government officials to punish Google over alleged privacy violations.
In the complaint, the Electronic Privacy and Information Center said Google’s plans to tie together data of users across services beginning March 1 violates a settlement agreement the company struck with the Federal Trade Commission last summer over a separate privacy controversy.
EPIC asked the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia to force the FTC to take action against Google. If the FTC finds that the firm violated its June 2011 settlement terms, Google could be forced to pay fines of $10,000 for each violation — an amount that could explode because of the popularity of Google’s services, experts say.
“The imminent change in Google’s business practices threatens the same customer interests that the FTC’s consent decree sought to protect,” EPIC said in its suit. “If the FTC does not act to prevent the change, all Google users, including EPIC, face an imminent harm that is both certain and great.”