EPIC, FTC battle lighting up courts days before Google's privacy policy rollout

The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Federal Trade Commission are gong toe-to-toe in court just a few days before Google rolls out its new privacy policies.
Written by John Fontana, Contributor

The back and forth between the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in regards to Google is roiling.

The Department of Justice, which represents the FTC, filed an opposition Tuesday morning in the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to an emergency appeal filed Monday by EPIC in the same court. The privacy group filed its appeal after a federal court ruled Feb. 24 in favor of the FTC, rejecting a suit designed to compel the agency to enforce a consent order against Google.

On Monday, EPIC asked the appellate court to overturn before Thursday a lower court ruling that the FTC's decisions regarding enforcement of a privacy settlement with Google are not subject to judicial review.

Thursday is a milestone date in the case as it is the day Google plans to roll out its new privacy policies to all its users.

EPIC sued the FTC in federal court in an attempt to force the agency into enforcing its consent order against Google. The consent order is part of a settlement the FTC and Google made Oct. 11. The FTC handed down the penalties after finding Google used deceptive privacy practices in rolling out its Google Buzz social service.

EPIC is seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. The group said Google's plan to change its privacy policies violates the consent order.

EPIC has been using legal challenges in an attempt to block roll out of Google privacy policy update. It has been joined by others, including the Center for Digital Democracy, which sent a letter last week to the FTC asking it to find Google in violation of a 2011 consent order, conduct an investigation and request the search giant postpone roll out of its new privacy policies.

Google created waves Jan. 24 when it announced it was consolidating it myriad of privacy policies into a single one and would look at users as one entity across all its service. The announcement touched off a privacy debate from Washington to the European Union and nearly everywhere in-between.

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