Google Files Privacy Comments

In March, the Federal Trade Commission concluded its “Exploring Privacy” roundtable series. The series brought together leaders from government, advocacy, academia, and industry to discuss ways to best protect consumer privacy. Representatives from Google participated in all the different sessions and sat on two of the panels.

Following the last roundtable, the FTC asked participants to submit public comments as part of the ongoing conversation. Last week, we did. And we thought you might be interested in seeing what we had to say.

In our comments, we both explain Google’s ongoing commitment to privacy and security and also offer some policy recommendations for the FTC moving forward.

Specifically, our filing highlights Google’s support for:

  • Strong industry commitments to ensure transparency, user control, and security in Internet services for consumers. Self-regulatory standards, such as the recent work done in online behavioral advertising, have encouraged companies to innovate in the area of privacy and have enhanced user choices in the environment as a whole.
  • Comprehensive privacy standards and strengthened protections from government intrusion. Google has long supported comprehensive federal privacy legislation to establish baseline privacy protections for consumers. In addition, Google recently announced its support for the reform of federal law governing government access to online records as part of the Digital Due Process coalition.
  • FTC leadership in the shaping of global privacy standards. The FTC, in conjunction with the Commerce Department and other stakeholders, has a unique opportunity to develop a workable set of global privacy standards that are comprehensive, flexible, and effective. The current patchwork of rules and enforcement across multiple jurisdictions does not provide adequate protection for consumers or sufficient certainty for companies offering services on the global Internet.

In addition, the comments draw attention to the strong connection between privacy and free expression, which is a critical issue for us.

Fair warning, it can be a bit of a dense document, particularly for the privacy layperson. But if you’ve ever wanted to know more about privacy at Google, then it’s definitely worth a read.