Judge Dumps EPIC's Ridiculous Lawsuit Trying To Force FTC To Stop Google's Privacy Policy Changes

from the not-how-it-works dept

As was pretty much expected after the FTC pointed out to privacy zealots EPIC that it had no standing to sue the FTC to force it to stop Google from changing its privacy policy, a federal court has dismissed EPIC's silly lawsuit. Without delving into the specifics of the privacy policy change, the court basically says that it has no power to compel the FTC to do an investigation. EPIC plans to appeal.

I'm really at a loss over EPIC's strategy here. No matter what you think of Google's privacy policy change (and I'm not a fan, though I think it's been blown out of proportion by some, including EPIC), pissing off the FTC (who has said it may still do its own investigation) seems like a pretty silly move, unlikely to do any good whatsoever.
In this case, plaintiff cannot point to any indication that Congress intended courts to monitor the FTC’s enforcement of its own consent decrees; the statute is devoid of any “law to apply” or “guidelines” that would signal that judicial review may be undertaken or that set out the governing standards.
Why not just let the FTC do what it thinks is appropriate. And, if you don't like Google's privacy policies... um... maybe don't use it?
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Filed Under: privacy, privacy policies

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  1. identicon
    John Gilmore, 27 Feb 2012 @ 10:02pm

    Google tracks you even if you don't use Google websites

    Half of the top million websites use Google Analytics, which reports your every access to Google. Every page with Google ads on it reports each page you access to Google. Every page with Google web fonts in it reports your accesses to Google. If you make a typo in the URL box in Firefox, Firefox reports you to Google to do a search, even if you have set your search engine to something else. Before you even get a chance to type a URL, or change your privacy settings, the very first time you run Firefox, it goes out and gets you a permanent Google cookie. If you access Youtube or Blogspot, these are Google properties and report all your accesses to Google. If you use an Android phone, every keystroke you type to the browser in the URL/search bar is reported to Google, even before you hit enter and start going to the website. If you were logged in to any Google site when any of the above happens, not only did your access get reported, but also identified as coming from YOU. If you send an email and any of the recipients is on gmail, Google is recording and analyzing your email.

    Merely avoiding Google websites only eliminates about a quarter of Google's capacity to track you - and that fraction drops every time Google rolls out another initiative like Android or Web Fonts.

    Google is almost certain to have data about every Web user in existence. Their privacy policy applies, even if you never voluntarily used a Google site. They have thoroughly "mined" the computing and communcations infrastructure, and whenever you hit one of those mines, Google notices. And, of course, if NSA wants to look for you anywhere in the world, they can just wiretap Google's fibers, since Google is so likely to notice when you reappear, before anybody else does.

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