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Google Buzz attacked for privacy violation

Goggle Buzz creates a list of the Gmail contacts that users email or chat with the most. It then automatically begins following them, and makes the list public. Users can follow people at will, and only those who have signed up for the Buzz service will find their most frequent contacts revealed in this way. Nevertheless, the public display of automatically compiled Buzz contacts happens by default.

One irate commentator said in a blog post titled "F*ck you Google":

You know who my third most frequent contact is? My abusive ex-husband. Which is why it's so exciting, Google, but you automatically allowed my most frequent contacts access to my Reader, including all the comments I've made on Reader items, usually shared with my boyfriend, who I had no reason to hide my current location or workplace from, and never did.

Google launched Buzz this week as a competitor to other social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. It allows you to post status updates, in the same way that the other two services do. It also offers an opt-in opportunity to geotag your updates.

Buzz shows updates from the people that you follow, along with updates from outside your immediate group, including active conversations between some friends and people that you are not following.

The auto-following issue will resonate with privacy advocates, who were incensed by comments made by Google's CEO Eric Schmidt in December. "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place," he said.

In 2005, Schmidt blacklisted news service CNet for publishing information about him gleaned from Google searches.

In other news, Iran reportedly shut down access to the Gmail service, according to a Fox News report. The oppressive regime's telecommunications agency commonly suspended the service, announcing that it would launch its own national email service instead. Google has confirmed Gmail access problems in Iran.

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