Google Backs Federal Privacy Law

Google stated today that it would back a nationwide privacy law. This comes days after the company unfairly came under pressure for supposedly violating a California law requiring that it post a link to its privacy policy on its homepage.

Exactly what the “comprehensive federal privacy law” that Google supports would entail is unclear. Requiring websites to disclose what they do with the data they gather is one thing (though one can legitimately argue over whose data it really is – perhaps Google owns the data people send it and so has no obligation to disclose what is done with it). But let’s hope that any new law doesn’t hamper the data use that has made targeted advertising, with its direct benefits for customers and businesses and indirect benefits for the users of website like Google whose revenue depends on ads, so successful.

Let’s also hope that this latest call for new federal regulation does not indicate that Google is getting further into the typical Washington lobbying game of Bootleggers and Baptists. Marc Rotenberg of EPIC thinks that Google’s push for a privacy law may be a ploy to get around stricter state laws. Google’s lobbying team is pretty crafty. Let’s hope that Google D.C. stays true to the company motto: Don’t be evil.