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Earlier this month, Google blamed a bug for causing an "isolated incident" which resulted in some users of Google Docs having their word-processing and presentation documents inadvertently shared. According to Google, the mishap only affected 0.05 percent of documents stored at the site, but that's enough to have privacy advocates turning to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to shut down all of Google's online services until government-approved "safeguards are verifiably established."
"If we were talking about a child safety seat that could not be securely attached to a car passenger seat, the commission in that instance would say to the company, 'Look, you've got to fix that problem,'" Marc Rotenberg, a lawyer and adjunct law professor, said in a telephone interview with CNet on Tuesday. "Consumers are at risk when that product is in the marketplace. We have a similar view of cloud computing at this point: people are at risk."
Leading the charge is the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), who submitted a letter to the FTC asking that all Google cloud-computing services be halted, including Gmail. In addition to shutting everything down, EPIC also wants Google to pay $5 million into a "public fund" to benefit advocacy groups.
Is EPIC asking for too much? And equally important, can you manage without Gmail?