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Google hits back on privacy record

Tells regulators to buzz buzz a diddle it

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Google has responded to complaints by international privacy regulators about its Buzz social networking app.

Regulators, led by Jennifer Stoddart in Canada and supported by privacy bosses in France, Germany, New Zealand, Spain and the UK, accused Google of rushing products and services to market without making sure privacy and data protection requirements were met on release. The group singled out Google Buzz for particular criticism in a stinging rebuke issued back in April.

Google, they argued, preferred to fix problems after they've already arisen rather than anticipate and curtail potential sources of difficulty while products are still in development.

Not so, argued Google privacy counsels Jane Horvath and Peter Fleischer in a response slipped out late last week.

"Google is committed to ensuring that privacy is designed into our products at every stage of the development cycle" adding that the online ad broker has a "team of seasoned privacy professionals, including legal, policy, security and engineering experts, to help guide the development of responsible privacy policies across Google".

Horvath and Fleischer cited Google's Privacy Center and Dashboard privacy management tool as examples of its efforts to be up front and transparent about the data it collected and how this information was used. Google ran into a huge privacy stink early this year with Google Buzz, involving the public sharing of contact lists in the launch version of the product.

"We do not get everything 100 percent right – that is why we acted so quickly on Google Buzz following the user feedback we received," the Google privacy bosses said. "We're also gratified that a number of you, in public statements, have expressed your satisfaction about how quickly we responded to those concerns.

"We are keenly aware of the trust that users place in our services, and of our responsibility to protect their privacy." ®

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