Google defends record on user privacy

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Admits failings on Buzz.

Google has responded to a letter from 10 global information commissioners asking for reassurance that the search company is taking the issue of protecting user data seriously.

The privacy chiefs from countries including the UK, Spain and Italy had accused Google of failing to protect the rights of citizens, and rushing in products like Google Buzz that "failed to take adequate account of privacy considerations".

Jane Horvath and Peter Fleischer, global privacy counsels at Google, admitted in the search firm's response that Google had "not got everything 100 per cent right" with Buzz, but said that it had acted "quickly following the feedback we received".

"We are also gratified that a number of you, in public statements, have expressed your satisfaction about how quickly we responded to those concerns," the letter added.

They also said that they are "keenly aware of the trust users place in our services" and that the company is committed to ensuring that users are fully aware of Google's position on data protection.

"To help users understand our privacy practices, and to be as transparent as possible, we have developed a wide array of web sites, including our Google Privacy Center, responding to FAQs and publishing regular blogs on privacy issues," the letter read.

"Google is committed to ensuring that privacy is designed into our products at every stage of the development cycle. Respecting privacy is part of every [Google employee's] job."

Google's market dominance is also causing unease in other areas. Consumer groups have argued that the company should be broken up, while government officials in Germany have accused Google of collecting private Wi-Fi information.

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