Privacy watchdog rebukes Google for Buzz

Canada’s privacy commissioner has chastised Google for not consulting with her before launching its Buzz social-networking service.

“We have seen a storm of protest and outrage over alleged privacy violations and my office also has questions about how Google Buzz has met the requirements of privacy law in Canada,” Jennifer Stoddart said in a statement Wednesday.

“My office has a variety of resources available to help companies build privacy into their products and services. When companies consult with us at the development stage, they can avoid the problems we’ve seen in recent days.”

Google Buzz, launched last week, integrates Twitter and Facebook-like communications and media-sharing functions into users’ Gmail accounts. When users turned the service on last week, many of their most emailed contacts were automatically added as public followers, which prompted privacy concerns. Critics said the service inadvertently exposed contacts and communications to anyone following the user on Buzz.

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