The National Journal reports on plans by Congressman Joe Barton (R-Texas), currently House Energy and Commerce ranking member and hoping to be chairman when the new GOP-majority House arrives in January, to promote privacy legislation. He spoke about privacy during an appearance on C-SPAN’s Communicators program.
Barton also reiterated his desire to pursue privacy legislation, saying he was “a little bit surprised … that we have not moved a privacy bill in this Congress.” He said it is an issue he can work with Democrats on, citing such members as Reps. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Bobby Rush of Illinois, who as chairman of the Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee introduced a privacy bill earlier this year.
“Privacy is one of those issues gaining in importance. It’s something that could be addressed if we could get the right coalition,” Barton said. “As chairman, I would be very, very willing to legislate in that area.”
Barton was asked about whether he would hold a hearing on Google’s acknowledgment that it had “mistakenly” collected information from unsecured Wi-Fi networks as Google cars collected photos for the firm’s Street View service. He said the incident was “very troubling” and questioned whether it was a mistake as Google has said. Barton added that it is an issue the committee would examine as part of its effort to craft privacy legislation.