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Google's response on new privacy policy ticks off congresswoman

At a hearing in the House over the search giant's new privacy policy, subcommittee Chairwoman Mary Bono Mack expresses frustration over what she sees as Google's lack of clarity in answering questions.

Google apparently isn't making any friends in Congress after a hearing yesterday on the company's new privacy policy.

Called before a Congressional committee to address questions over the policy, Google officials were said to be less than "forthcoming" with their answers, according to Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), who heads the House subcommittee leading the investigation.

"At the end of the day, I don't think their answers to us were very forthcoming necessarily in what this really means for the safety of our families and our children," Bono Mack told reporters, according to The Hill.

Google has been under the microscope yet again after revealing plans last week to share user information across its various products and services. The company is also combining its 60 different privacy policies into one giant policy that it claims will be easier to understand.

But the move lighted a fire under politicians concerned by and confused about the policies, prompting them to press Google for more information. Though the company sent Congress a 13-page letter in response, a hearing was almost inevitable.

Appearing before Bono Mack and the rest of her subcommittee, Pablo Chavez, Google's director of public policy, and Michael Yang, a Google senior counsel, tried to walk through the steps that users can follow to manage their privacy settings. But Bono Mack apparently still found the process cumbersome.

"By being more simple, [the privacy policy] is actually more complicated," Bono Mack said, according to The Hill.

Saying that Congress might not be able to provide the right answer, Bono Mack suggested that Google users consider switching to other services if the company goes too far.

With online privacy a hot-button issue in Congress, more hearings are slated to take place this year, with some centered on Google's latest changes.

In response to the hearings, a Google spokesman sent CNET the following statement:

"Privacy is an important issue, and we're happy to discuss our updated Privacy Policy with Congress."