Google Reaccused Of Lobbying Against Privacy Provisions

    April 29, 2009

Several months ago, Consumer Watchdog asked Google to "cease a rumored lobbying effort aimed at allowing the sale of electronic medical records."  Google responded by calling the claim totally false.  Now, Consumer Watchdog’s come back with evidence that Google lobbied for something health-related, and the group’s demanded an explanation.

A letter addressed to Eric Schmidt was released today.  In it, Jamie Court, Consumer Watchdog’s president, and John M. Simpson, a consumer advocate, wrote, "The public record shows that you were lobbying on H.R. 1."  Which is true enough.

Google Lobbying

The pair then continued, "Based on the records and the issues being debated at the time, the only reasonable conclusion is that Google was lobbying to prevent the privacy provisions applicable to HIPPA providers applying to Google Health – in plain English, that you were lobbying against strong privacy provisions and in favor of allowing the sale of information from medical records."

This part is more debatable, since the public records don’t state Google’s intention.  But Consumer Watchdog appears to have the search giant backed into a corner.  For the sake of not having consumers run screaming from Google Health, Google will likely have to get very specific about what stances it promoted.

Stay tuned.  And if you feel like doing a little more reading about Google Health, something interesting about openness and accuracy was posted on the Official Google Blog just yesterday.