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Who's Talking To Mary Bono Mack About Internet Privacy?

March 31st 2012

LectureTools student user

At a hearing yesterday on a proposed new law that would limit on how easily advertisers could track Internet users, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) seemed confused about what all the fuss was about:

"Before we do any possible harm to the Internet, we need to understand what harm is actually being done to consumers," Mack said. "Where is the public outcry for legislation? Today, I'm simply not hearing it. I haven't gotten a single letter from anyone back home urging me to pass a privacy bill." As Slate pointed out, this is strange, because a recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, found that 65 percent of Americans do have serious reservations about their private data being collected on the Internet to help advertisers target them. Maybe Bono Mack really hasn't received any letters of support for the Don't Track Me Online Act of 2011, which would direct the Federal Trade Commission to set guidelines on what information can be collected from Internet users and how it may be used.

But what she definitely has received are tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from companies opposed to the new legislation.

Bono Mack's campaign and her leadership PAC, Mary's PAC, have received a total of $300,784 so far in this campaign cycle. At least $77,520 of it has come from contributors with ties to companies who have lobbied on the bill, according to OpenSecrets.org data.That's more than 25 percent of her take so far. Lobbying reports don't indicate whether a client supports or opposes legislation, but most, if not all, of the companies listed below -- which have both lobbied on the privacy bill and given to Bono Mack -- have indicated they are against it.

Russ Choma writes for OpenSecrets.org from where this article is adapted.


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