Privacy watchdogs and parents feel Google Buzz may put children at risk

Google Buzz

More trouble has come the way of Google’s newly-released, privacy-issue-marred, social-networking tool ‘Buzz’! Privacy watchdogs as well as parents are arguing that the addition of Buzz to the popular Gmail service can put children at risk; thereby raising questions about how the new service may be used by children.

Technology analyst Charlene Li, who tracks Google and other Internet companies, recently took to the Web route to sound the alert against Buzz’s use by children, after finding her 9-year-old daughter and her classmate inadvertently sharing a private conversation on Buzz and chatting with strangers.

In a blog post, Li wrote: “These are fourth-graders who have no clue. Imagine parents and kids checking out their Buzz accounts to find that 'iorgyinbathrooms' is following them, which is exactly what happened with my child's account.”

Meanwhile, calling Google Buzz a “new danger zone for children,” privacy expert Kathryn Montgomery, an American University professor, has urged the Federal Trade Commission to deal with the potential risks that children face as a result of Google’s roll-out of Buzz into millions of Gmail accounts.

However, other than the fact that Google does not allow children below 13 years to open Gmail accounts, the company currently has no specific plans to introduce any change to Buzz, to alleviate the privacy concerns raised by the parents.

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