A leading lawmaker on privacy issues said on Thursday he would ask for a probe into whether recently announced changes in how Google handles consumer data violated an agreement it made with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
Making it REAL private
However, after the new policy comes into effect, user information from most Google products will be treated as a single trove of data, which the company could use for its targeted advertising dollars. The lawmakers said the announcement raises questions about whether consumers will have enough power to opt-out of data sharing systems.
They also asked what security steps are being taken to ensure the safety of customer data. "While Google suggests that the purpose of this shift in policy is to make the consumer experience simpler, we want to make sure it does not make protecting consumer privacy more complicated," the lawmakers said in a letter to Google Chief Executive Larry Page. The letter was dated Thursday. Republican signatories were representatives Cliff Stearns, Joe Barton and Marsha Blackburn. Democratic signatories were representatives Markey, Henry Waxman, Dianne DeGette, G.K. Butterfield, and Jackie Speier, who has introduced privacy legislation. All of the lawmakers except for Speier are members of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
In 2010, the FTC settled charges with Twitter, after the agency alleged that the social networking service had failed to safeguard users' personal information. U.S. regulators are reportedly looking into whether Google manipulates its search results to favor its own products and have expanded the probe to include Google+.
Published Date: Jan 27, 2012 12:16 pm | Updated Date: Jan 27, 2012 12:16 pm