Google, Apple, Amazon execs to testify at Senate privacy hearing this month

Executives from Google, Apple and Amazon will testify before the Senate Commerce Committee later this month on consumer data privacy, the panel announced Wednesday.

The Sept. 26 hearing will also feature legal and privacy executives from AT&T, Twitter and telecom company Charter. No representatives from Facebook were included on the list of witnesses released Wednesday, nor were any privacy or consumer advocates.

The hearing, titled "Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy," comes as various lawmakers, trade groups and consumer advocates float the idea of Congress implementing a set of national privacy standards.

"Consumers deserve clear answers and standards on data privacy protection," Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the chairman of the Commerce Committee, said in a statement.

"This hearing will provide leading technology companies and internet service providers an opportunity to explain their approaches to privacy, how they plan to address new requirements from the European Union and California, and what Congress can do to promote clear privacy expectations without hurting innovation."

The European Union implemented a set of sweeping privacy rules in May, requiring websites to be more transparent about how they handle personal data and giving users more control over what companies can do with their information.

A month later, California passed the United States' toughest data privacy law in an effort to head off an even stricter ballot initiative. The new law, which doesn't go into effect until 2020, has helped set off a push in the tech industry for a national privacy standard that would prevent states from passing their own rules.

View desktop version