"Today, Google carefully pointed out there are tools at the user's discretion to opt out of all sorts of things and customize their preferences. But the question Congress continues to have is whether the changes benefit Google, or benefit the consumer," said Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), chairman of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee.
Bono Mack and ranking member G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), who called the meeting, were two of the 10 House Energy and Commerce Committee members who met with Google's Mike Yang, the company's deputy general counsel, and Pablo Chavez, director of public policy.
One area the lawmakers wanted more clarity on was Google's policy for deleted emails and materials. "We got no less than three different answers today and that's troubling," said Bono Mack's senior adviser.
Whether users can opt out remains a big sticking point with lawmakers. Google's answer is that users opt out when they sign out.
Bono Mack plans to follow up with another letter to Google and invite company officials to testify at the subcommittee's next privacy hearing this spring.
Other members who attended the meeting were Representatives Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Joe Barton (R-Texas), Charlie Bass (R-N.H.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.).