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Google, FTC Reach Google Buzz Privacy Settlement

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with Google on Wednesday over Google Buzz, the social networking tool rolled out last year which spawned a slew of privacy complaints.

Under the settlement announced by the US regulator, Google is required to implement a comprehensive privacy program and will be subject to independent privacy audits every two years for the next 20 years.

Google Settles Buzz Case With US Government

Google has settled legal matters with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over privacy issues surrounding its Buzz social networking service.

The company said that it had struck an agreement with the FTC which will settle the complaint and put new controls over how Google handles user privacy. Under the agreement, Google will receive independent audits every two years, and any sharing of user information will require prior consent.

"When companies make privacy pledges, they need to honour them," said FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz.

Drive Less, Save More

Nancy Bell figures she will be driving less now that she's retired. So, the Oakland resident opted for a new kind of auto insurance policy that rewards drivers for doing just that.

By signing up for a pay-as-you-drive policy offered by State Farm instead of an estimated miles policy, Bell could see her future premiums fall. The less she drives below a threshold of 19,000 miles a year, the more she saves.

Google Introduces New Social Tool and Settles Privacy Charge

Google is trying social networking again, even as it pays a price for earlier privacy blunders.

Google introduced its latest social tool on Wednesday, the same day it settled with the Federal Trade Commission over charges of deceptive privacy practices last year for Buzz, the social networking tool in Gmail.

Consumer Watchdog Praises FTC For Requiring Privacy Audits For Google, But Says Fines And Further Action Required

WASHINGTON, DC — Consumer Watchdog praised the Federal Trade Commission for requiring Google to submit to privacy audits for the next twenty years, but said the Internet giant should also face monetary penalties for its abuses. The nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group also called for government action to curtail Google’s anti-competitive practices.

Insurance Brokers Battle For Commissions Under Health Reform Law

WASHINGTON, DC -- In another flashpoint over implementation of federal health reform, insurance brokers are trying to undo a regulation that, they say, has already led to deep cuts in the commissions they earn from selling health care policies.

The issue pits brokers against consumer groups, with state insurance commissioners split on the subject. Connecticut's new insurance commissioner, Thomas B. Leonardi, is among those resisting federal legislation to make sure agents' fees are protected under the health reform law.

Obama Administration Should Halt Health Reform Waivers, Says Consumer Watchdog

Washington, DC –  Consumer Watchdog told the Obama Administration that waivers of consumer protections in the health reform law should be the exception, not the rule, in a letter sent to the Department of Health and Human Services to oppose Anthem’s attempt to evade medical spending rules in New Hampshire.