Google intervenes on privacy debate

Google has responded to complaints made by privacy regulators who claim the search giant ensure its products comply with privacy laws before releasing them.

An example given of Google's lack of compliance was its social networking tool Buzz.

After installation, the Gmail tool automatically scoured e-mail contacts to create friend lists for Buzz without the user's consent.

It was found that Buzz had made sensitive user information available over the internet, sparking a wave of criticism.

The complaint, spearheaded by Canadian regulator Jennifer Stoddart, are supported by privacy groups and government representatives from the UK, France, Germany and New Zealand.

In a letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the privacy commissioners accused the company of fixing the problems only after they had arisen and caused considerable damage.

In response, Google privacy counsels Jane Horvath and Peter Fleischer wrote an open letter to international privacy heads, stating: "Google is committed to ensuring that privacy is designed into our products at every stage of the development cycle."

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