Eshoo: Google-FTC settlement should apply to all firms

The privacy practices outlined in the settlement announced Wednesday between Google and the Federal Trade Commission should apply to all firms, according to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.)

The FTC accused Google of violating users' privacy during the rollout of its Buzz social network last year. Google apologized and settled the charges by agreeing to implement a comprehensive privacy program and to hire an outside auditor to review its policies every two years for the next two decades.

Going forward, Google will have to obtain users' consent whenever it changes how one of its products uses or shares consumer data. Eshoo said that same standard should apply to all Web firms.

“Personal privacy is a closely held American value. When we share our personal data with business, its use should be transparent and secure," Eshoo said.

“Google’s agreement to obtain consumer consent before sharing new information with third parties should apply to all companies that collect or use personal data.”

Eshoo's statement joins the growing drumbeat on Capitol Hill for legislation to outline how companies may use and share consumer data. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is working on commercial privacy legislation, while Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) have already unveiled consumer-focused bills in the House.

Online privacy is one of the rare issues that attracts support from both sides of the aisle even in today's partisan climate. On the House GOP side, both Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) have shown interest in leading any legislative effort.