“I need to be clear for the record that my understanding is that we are not close to launching a search product in China,” Enright said. “And whether we eventually could or would remains unclear.”
Though Google received a lot of the attention at Wednesday’s hearing, the other companies did not entirely escape scrutiny. Lawmakers peppered the executives with questions about how they use consumer data, and how they define what is private and what is not.
The concept of a federal law that governs data privacy has become increasingly important to lawmakers, especially in recent months.
The European Union made waves earlier this year when its General Data Protection Regulation went into effect. Those rules forced companies that operate in that region to revise their data privacy policies.
Then in June, California passed the toughest data privacy law in the US. When that law goes into effect in 2020, it will grant consumers the right to know what companies like Facebook and Google are collecting from them, why those companies are collecting it and who they are sharing it with. Consumers will also be able to bar tech companies from selling their data.
AT&T’s Len Cali, the senior vice president of global public policy, cited a “host of burdens” associated with the GDPR during his testimony Wednesday.
“Perhaps if it existed at the the companies at this table started, we wouldn’t be here, none of them would be here,” he said.