Congress Grills Google CEO On Bias, Privacy, China


Google has "no plans" to relaunch a search engine in China though it is continuing to study the idea, Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told a US congressional panel on Tuesday amid increased scrutiny of big tech firms.

News stories and blog posts like this one, in other words, are going to ensure that Trump stays a top search result whenever someone queries Google images for the word 'idiot'.

Until now, he had avoided the public grilling that Facebook and Twitter CEOs have experienced.

The latest hearing comes with Silicon Valley under fire over privacy practices and manipulation, including by foreign governments, and possible monopoly practices. "How does search work so that that would occur?" she asked.

But other Republican lawmakers said they still don't trust that Google's system is protected, especially since they have no idea who's programming the algorithm or making other decisions in terms of what content is classified as hate speech and what isn't.

Pichai, a former engineer, took the helm of Google in 2015 in a major restructuring that made Google a division of conglomerate Alphabet Inc. - whose businesses include Waymo, a self-driving technology development company.

The marathon three-and-a-half House committee session was in-part fascinating and in-larger-part cringeworthy as Pichai picked his way around controversial issues and side-stepped serious questions over the search giant's actions, while remaining remarkably polite and accommodating in the face of incoherent rants and questions that bore no relation to objective reality.

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"We have no say in how Google uses even our most personal data, and the only way to opt out is to boycott the internet itself", Madrigal added. "We now don't plan on having a search product there".

Charges of bias against Google's search engine gained momentum in August when President Trump lashed out at the tech giant in a pair of tweets.

The company has denied any political bias, and there's no evidence of an anti-conservative tilt. It's that even if they aren't, they could be, and we wouldn't know about it. Google is subject to no official oversight, monitoring, or transparency requirements created to prevent political search engine manipulation.

Rep. Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, said the inquiry into whether Google was biased was a "waste of time". Google's CEO was summoned to the US Congress to explain to Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren why this happens.

"Right now, there are no plans to launch in China", Pichai said, indicating that the program has ended. "We should not let the delusions of the far right distract us from the real issues that should be the focus of Tuesday's hearing", New York Democrat Jerry Nadler said, according to Forbes.

And momentum is building in Congress for legislation to put stricter limits and privacy protections around the big tech companies' collection of data. "But for sexual harassment, we agreed that it should be up to the employees and we give them a choice", he said. "It called on Google to terminate an initiative known as 'Project Dragonfly", which the co-authors said would actively aid "China's censorship and surveillance regime".