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Congress: Google falls short on privacy answers

updated 11:30 pm EST, Thu February 2, 2012

Google said hesitant in privacy questioning

Google representatives were reported as being hesitant to fully answer questions relating to concerns over privacy on Thursday. In the wake of a hearing at a Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade subcommittee, California representative Mary Bono Mack briefed The Hill and others that the answers weren't "very forthcoming" in terms of the impact on families. She saw the unified privacy policy as ironically more complex for the user and that, even with Google's assurances, it wouldn't be easy to turn certain sharing off.

She was equally worried that Google's representatives, senior counsel Michael Yang and public policy lead Pablo Chavez, didn't make it clear how long Google kept any tracking information or how easily account holders could purge it.

Bono Mack stopped short of calling for legal penalties or new laws, but warned that Google might be pressing too hard on privacy changes for customers' tastes.

Most of the concerns in Congress and among critics have been that Google might have also unified the data itself, such as using Gmail to influence YouTube suggestions or otherwise cross-pollinating services without knowledge or consent. Google has stated that it maintains the same amount of control, but it has also expressed a desire to integrate more of its information across services.

by MacNN Staff



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