WASHINGTON Google has told a senior U.S
Republican lawmaker concerned about privacy that the Internet
search and advertising company supports a federal privacy law.
Privacy advocates object to the amount of information that
Google, Yahoo and other online companies collect about users.
Google, in particular, has been under pressure to post a link
Texas Rep. Joe Barton, the senior Republican on the House
Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote to Google in May asking
for details about the search engine's privacy practices since
it acquired competitor DoubleClick.
Google told Barton in a letter dated June 6 that it would
support creation of a federal Internet privacy law. A copy of
the letter was obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.
"Google supports the adoption of a comprehensive federal
privacy law that would accomplish several goals such as
building consumer trust and protections; creating a uniform
framework for privacy, which would create consistent levels of
privacy from one jurisdiction to another; and putting penalties
in place to punish and dissuade bad actors," the letter said.
It was signed by Alan Davidson, Google's chief lobbyist.
Google's Chief Executive Eric Schmidt and Barton met last
November, and two of Barton's aides went to Google headquarters
in Mountain View, California in December to discuss privacy.
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic
Privacy Information Centre, was sceptical of Google's
endorsement of a federal privacy law. Rotenberg said that when
companies push for a "comprehensive" law, they often want
something that would preempt more stringent state laws.
"We do not want the states to have their hands tied," he
said Rotenberg, citing California and New York as examples of
states with tough privacy laws.
(Editing by Toni Reinhold)
(Diane.Bartz@Thomsonreuters.com; +1 202 898 8313))