Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) wants the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google over revelations that the company not only exposed private data of Google+ users to outside developers, but also failed to disclose the data leak for seven months.
“We learned last Monday of yet another breach of the public's trust by a big tech firm,” Blumenthal said Wednesday at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing about online privacy. He said he plans on Wednesday to send the FTC a letter seeking a probe of the company.
Blumenthal also asked European privacy official Andrea Jelinek whether she planned to investigate the “violation of basic norms by Google” in its failure to disclose the data leak sooner.
Jelinek responded that officials in Ireland and Hamburg are already investigating the company.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that a glitch in Google's system allowed up to 438 outside developers to access information about Google+ users' contacts. The company reportedly discovered the glitch and fixed it in March, but delayed disclosing it until this week, due to fears of regulatory scrutiny and bad publicity. On Monday, Google said it plans to shut down the consumer version of Google+.
Blumenthal also renewed calls for new federal privacy laws. “The fact is that consumers have no meaningful federal protection for consumer data,” he said. “Until there is an effective enforcer at the federal or state level, with federal standards backed by strong resources and authority, consumers will continue to be at risk.”
Earlier this year, he co-sponsored a bill that would require companies to obtain consumers' explicit consent to use or share their personal information.