Google has agreed to settle a complaint from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission charging the company with using deceptive tactics and violating its own privacy promises to consumers when it launched its social network, Google Buzz.
The proposed settlement, announced Wednesday, bars Google from future privacy misrepresentations, requires the company to implement a comprehensive privacy program and requires independent privacy audits for the next 20 years, the FTC said in a press release.
This is the first time an FTC settlement order has required a company to implement a comprehensive privacy program to protect consumers' information, the FTC said.
"When companies make privacy pledges, they need to honor them," Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC, said in a statement. "This is a tough settlement that ensures that Google will honor its commitments to consumers and build strong privacy protections into all of its operations."
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.