Judge dismisses Google privacy lawsuit

The judge ruled that the courts cannot review the FTC’s decision regarding enforcement of legal settlement agreements, known as consent decrees.

"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 judge wrote in the decision.

The judge did not rule on the substance of the issue, that is, whether Google’s new privacy policy violates its settlement with the FTC over privacy concerns raised by the rollout of its now defunct Buzz social media service.

In the settlement, Google is prohibited from future privacy misrepresentations. It also requires Google to implement a comprehensive privacy program, in addition to regular independent privacy audits over the next 20 years.

Last month, Google came under fire when it announced it would consolidate the privacy policies of its various services into a single document. To implement the one privacy policy, effective March 1, Google will track users across all services and will share that information across those products. In response, EPIC filed a lawsuit, arguing that the new policy violated its agreement with the FTC.

The FTC chairman, Jon Leibowitz, has made it clear that his agency does not consider Google’s new privacy policy move productive. In an interview with C-Span, Leibowitz warned that Google’s new privacy policy would force consumers to make a “brutal choice.”

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