Eleven members of Congress are asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate complaints that Google inappropriately used private user information in its Buzz service and may use similar data in its AdMob purchase.
In a letter to the FTC, the congressmen cite privacy risks around the Google Buzz service and question how the Internet search giant will use user information to target ads through its pending AdMob acquisition.
“Due to the high number of individuals whose online privacy is affected by tools like this – either directly or indirectly – we feel that these claims warrant the Commission’s review of Google’s public disclosure of personal information of consumers through Google Buzz,” said the letter.
In regards to Google’s AdMob purchase, the members of Congress urged the FTC to “scrutinize how the deal will affect competition and Google’s incentives to offer robust consumer privacy protections.”
The letter came from both sides of the aisle and was signed by Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., five other Democrats and five Republicans from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The letter cites Google’s practice of automatically using consumers’ private e-mail address books to create public contact lists for Buzz. Though Google has made efforts to revamp its privacy settings for Gmail, the congressmen said they “remain concerned that personal information with publicly disclosed without notice or choice and has yet to be appropriately secured.”
The letter also asks the FTC to investigate how Google might use consumer information collected through its products and services in its AdMob purchase.