Senators make privacy demands to Google

Oh, sorry, that’s Facebook, whose tentacles are constantly expanding throughout the web, but not in Washington.  Sen. Charles Schumer and colleagues have posted an open letter on Facebook’s wall demanding to know just how the social network’s privacy options work.

In the meantime, Google continues to track, store, and process user data from various points in order to build advertising profiles – a practice which raises concerns not only about privacy, but about reach.  In fact, Google’s signature service, search, has a much lower barrier to entry than Facebook’s; while Facebook makes you create an account and is thematically based on the idea of sharing personal information, Google’s search service is open to anyone trackable by IP address.

So why does Facebook get a nasty letter while Google gets a pass?

It may have something to do with the fact that Google spent $1.38 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2010 alone.  More significant than the actual dollars spent is the intellectual investment: Google has clearly made it a priority to be a Washington, DC player on both sides of the aisle.  This level of involvement positions Google as a resource, preventing policymakers from seeing what is an obvious parallel.

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