Facebook has some new hired help — lobbying help, that is — to handle specific legislation and policy issues related to privacy.
While Facebook has its own inhouse team of lobbyists in Washington, D.C. that works with federal agencies, the White House and Capitol Hill, the social network also works with third-party lobbyists, and just hired Steptoe & Johnson to that end.
Two other lobbying companies have just parted ways with Facebook, citing conflicts of interest with other clients, according to Politico.
Meanwhile, here’s a look at a few of the bills that Facebook’s outside lobbyists have addressed during the 112th Congress.
Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011 (H.R. 1895)
The bill was introduced by Rep. Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and co-chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has oversight on a host of issues from telecommunications to consumer protection, food and drug safety, and interstate and foreign commerce.
As committee chairman and co-chair of the Congressional Privacy Caucus with Republican Representative Joe Barton of Texas, Rep. Markey has corresponded with Facebook, the Federal Trade Commission, and other agencies over a host of privacy-related issues.
SAFE Data Act (H.R. 2577)
The privacy-related bill was sponsored by Republican Representative Mary Bono Mack of California, another member of the House Energy and Commerce committee.
The legislation creates ” uniform national standards for data security and data breach notification,” according to the congresswoman’s press release announcing the bill.
It was drafted in response to cyber-attacks on commerce websites. Facebook’s interest in developing social commerce, the momentum for which has waned according to some, is the likely source of the company’s interest in the bill.
Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights 2011 (S. 799)
Sponsored by Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, co-chair of the U.S. Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation committee, and Senator John McCain, the Republican from Arizona, the bill is meant to increase consumer trust in the market by providing a baseline code of conduct for how “personally identifiable information and information that can uniquely identify an individual or networked device are used, stored, and distributed.”
For many reasons, not the least of which that as an election year, members of Congress become more focused on reelection rather than legislation, it’s likely these bills will linger where they are now — in the congressional committees where they were introduced.