Google has responded to international criticism on privacy issues surrounding its Buzz social networking site.
In a letter signed by Jane Horvath and Peter Fleischer global privacy counsel for Google, the company thanked the global commissioners for their open letter to CEO Eric Schmidt, and said that they appreciated their invitation to ‘reiterate our core commitments to privacy'.
The letter from Hovarth and Fleischer said: “At Google, we are keenly aware of the trust that our users place in our services, and of our responsibility to protect their privacy. As part of this responsibility, we are committed to being transparent with our users about the information that we collect when they use our products and services, why we collect it and how we use it to improve their experience.”
It then detailed its privacy principles and offered links to websites on how it educates on issues and tools that it offers to users.
It concluded by saying: “We are already in regular contact with all of your offices, and we look forward to continue working with your offices and to benefit from your guidance in the future as we build privacy into new, innovative products for our users.”
Google was originally criticised for Buzz upon its launch from users who could not control who was added to the lists. Google responded by making a checkbox more prominent and not connecting a user's public Picasa web albums and Google Reader shared items automatically. The service was further revamped in April to suggest people to follow instead.
The open letter from the commissioners of the UK, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and Canada claimed that Buzz ‘violated the fundamental principle that individuals should be able to control the use of their personal information'.