Feb 292012
 February 29, 2012  Posted by  Business

Paul C. Barton reports:

As watchdog groups urge a slowdown in Google’s new privacy policy, Rep. Mary Bono Mack’s office on Tuesday announced she will hold a hearing on privacy issues in which Google will likely participate.


Bono Mack will serve as chairwoman of the March 29 hearing in the subcommittee on manufacturing, commerce and trade of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Subcommittee staff members met with Google representatives Monday, Bono Mack spokesman Ken Johnson said, “but no new ground was broken.”

A coalition of five interest groups associated with consumer protection and electronic privacy issues want Congress to prohibit Google from putting the new privacy policy into effect until public hearings can be held and the Federal Trade Commission completes a review.


Read more on Desert Sun.

Is this going to be yet another hearing where Congress calls people on the carpet but doesn’t actually do anything? How does holding a hearing on March 29, presumably after the changes have gone into effect, help? And does Congress even have any authority to prohibit Google’s actions? I’m not sure that they do.

I’m not saying this to attack Rep. Mary Bono Mack, as this is not her first attempt to address this issue, but I’m frustrated that after years of Congressional hearings and inquiries, we still have no real protections and our only choice seems to be “take it or leave it.”  That’s still a choice, of course, and we shouldn’t overlook that we do have that choice, but it’s not a particularly satisfactory one.  Oh for the days of “Don’t do evil.”

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