An action brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (“EPIC”) asking that the FTC be compelled to enforce its Google Buzz consent order (previously described, here) was dismissed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, who held that “enforcement decisions are committed to agency discretion and are not subject to judicial review.”

EPIC contended that Google’s announced changes to its user privacy policies for all of its services, scheduled to take effect on March 1, 2012, would violate various portions of the consent order Google reached with the FTC regarding its former social networking service Google Buzz by “altering the use of personal information” obtained by users and “consolidat[ing] user data from across [Google’s] services and creat[ing] a single merged profile for each user.”

The Court underscored that because judicial review was unavailable, the decision should not be interpreted as expressing any opinion about the merits of EPIC’s challenge to Google’s anticipated new policies.  Rather, Judge Jackson noted that EPIC and many other individuals and institutions had advanced serious concerns that may be legitimate and that the FTC, which had advised the Court that the matter is under review, may ultimately decide to institute an enforcement action. 

EPIC has filed an emergency appeal with the D.C. Circuit, asking that the District Court decision be overturned before the privacy policy changes are implemented.