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US federal court fast-forwards case on Google privacy policy

Imminent Chocolate Factory tweak speeds up lawsuit review

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A lawsuit brought against the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its inaction regarding Google's imminent changes to its terms of service was expedited yesterday.

The US federal court of the District of Columbia agreed to a request put forward by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) - the plaintiffs in the case.

As we reported yesterday, EPIC took the unusual step of flinging a sueball at the FTC for failing to take action against Google's plans to change its privacy policy on 1 March.

EPIC alleges that Google is violating an earlier privacy settlement with the FTC.

The court agreed in light of Mountain View's impending tweaks to its products and services that a review of the lawsuit should be sped up.

This means the Commission now has until 17 February to respond to the privacy group's complaint. EPIC will then be required to submit a reply by no later than 21 February.

It remains to be seen if this move will heap pressure on Google's privacy policy overhaul, however. The company says it has been upfront with its users about the upcoming changes to its terms of services.

It has argued that everyone has been informed about the tweaks, and claimed that putting a halt on the entire process will confuse Google's users.

Since announcing the changes, which include cutting and shutting together around 60 privacy policies into one document, Google has spent much of its time defending the decision. It has claimed that the changes will simplify and personalise its users' "experience" online.

Many disagree and have expressed serious concern about how deep and how quickly Google's execs have seemingly burrowed their way into all things "social". ®

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