Making it easy for Google

Fri, May 8, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    You’d think with the communications resources that Google has at its disposal, the Internet giant’s executives would be able to answer direct questions. An exchange of letters over the last few weeks shows otherwise.

    So, today we designed and sent Rachel Whetstone, Vice President for Public Policy and Communication, a form that should make the task easy.

    This all started when we examined Google’s 1st quarter federal lobbying reports showing what issues they spent $880,000 trying to influence, but not the positions the company took.

    So we wrote CEO Eric Schmidt and asked.

    He had Ms. Whetstone write us back.  The only problem was that her four-page letter did not address the issue of whether Google lobbied against extending HIPPA provisions prohibiting the sale of medical records to cover Personal Health Record (PHR) vendors like Google Health.

    So we sent a short letter and asked two questions:

     During the debate on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1), did Google lobby against extending HIPAA provisions prohibiting the sale of medical records to cover Personal Health Record (PHR) vendors like Google Health?

     Did Google lobby Congress to preclude itself from being covered by other provisions of HIPAA? If so, which?

    We received an answer that quoted from the earlier letter, but failed to address the questions.

    Now we’ve made it simple. We crafted a  form from the May 1 letter and sent it to Ms. Whetstone allowing her to simply check boxes "yes", "no", or "no comment."

    I’m watching my inbox .







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    This post was written by:

    John M. Simpson

    - who has written 414 posts on Inside Google.

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