Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Google Buzz Settlement Triggers New Push For Privacy Legislation

Irony alert: privacy advocates may have the gigantic misstep known as Google Buzz to thank if and when a “Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights” comes into existence. Senator John Kerry stated today that the new agreement between Google and the FTC underscores the need for that sort of document.

Interestingly, Kerry didn’t choose to criticize either organization. The FTC proved that “[b]aseline privacy protections in law remain common sense,” the politician said, and he gave Google credit for admitting its error.

Kerry even added, “I fully expect Goggle will do that, keep innovating, and continue creating exciting services for users around the world.” But he still believes the settlement justifies the creation of more legislation.

Kerry reasoned, “Google is far from alone in the collection, use, and distribution of immense amounts of our information. Today’s settlement is rooted in the idea that if an entity is going to engage in the collection of people’s personally identifiable information, then it must build strong privacy protections into all of its operations. Every company should adhere to this kind of standard, not just Google, and it’s best for businesses and consumers alike to have certainty about the rules and standards going forward.”

So a privacy bill Kerry’s working on should surface sometime this year, as promised.

That’s sure to annoy many companies that deal in advertising, although perhaps not Google. Our own Josh Wolford pointed out earlier that the search giant’s already facing regular privacy audits as part of its settlement with the FTC.


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