AOL Renews Privacy Concerns In Congress

    August 11, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

AOL’s shocking searcher log release has reignited the debate in Congress over whether to restrict Internet companies’ use and storage of user data. Though a bill aimed at protecting user privacy has been effectively tabled since February, the fallout from AOL’s data dump may bring it back into light.

CNet’s Declan McCullagh reports that the debacle has spurred the author the Eliminate Warehousing of Consumer Internet Data Act (EWOCID), Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) to use AOL as a cautionary tale. Markey is best known for his aggressive support of Network Neutrality legislation.

Markey introduced the bill after the Department of Justice strong-armed the search engine giants into releasing data similar to what was publicly released by AOL this month. He calls storing “the building blocks” of citizens’ private lives “unnecessary.”

McCullagh reports that the bill has met strong opposition from both Republicans, who recently changed their views on big government, and from major technology lobbying groups who accuse Markey of trying to “micromanage technology firms.”

But even as lobbyists still appear to appose measures to limit what type of data search engines and other companies may store long term, even Google chief Eric Schmidt admits that, in light of recent events, the company has debated self-regulation.

For now, Google’s conclusion is that they are “reasonably satisfied” that the company will not make the same mistake AOL did.

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