Sundar Pichai, India born chief executive officer (CEO) of Google Inc. had a private meeting with the GOP lawmakers at Capitol Hill on Friday amid allegations of anti-conservative bias at Google, concerns about the privacy issues, and the firm’s re-entry into China.
A source familiar with Google’s closed-door portion of the meeting told Fox News that the meeting ‘was positive and the ‘tone was tough but fair and respectful’. Members ‘weren’t shy about sharing their major concerns with Pichai and are looking to interview him in the future.
Pichai’s meeting with about two dozen Republican lawmakers was scheduled to be held in the Capitol office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who represents a district in Google’s home state of California.
“Google has a lot of questions to answer about bias in its search results, violations of user privacy, anticompetitive behavior and business dealings w/ repressive regimes like China,” McCarthy had tweeted on Thursday.
Google has a lot of questions to answer about bias in its search results, violations of user privacy, anticompetitive behavior and business dealings w/ repressive regimes like China. #StopTheBias https://t.co/xXmauX3xp7
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) September 27, 2018
Lately, there have been serious concerns over privacy issues and the tech giant’s entry into the Chinese market.
Pichai agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in November to allay the said concerns during a private meeting with GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill, said a report in USA Today.
“Pichai has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in November to address concerns over the Internet giant’s business practices,” said the report.
Pichai also met US President Donald Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow and reportedly told the White House that he would attend an upcoming Trump roundtable with tech executives.
“We remain committed to continuing an active dialogue with members from both sides of the aisle, working proactively with Congress on a variety of issues, explaining how our products help millions of American consumers and businesses, and answering questions as they arise,” Pichai said in a statement.
The news about Google’s plan to build a censored search engine in China broke in August when The Intercept reported that the search platform would blacklist “sensitive queries” about topics including politics, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest, triggering internal protests among some Google employees.
Two weeks after that report, Pichai told the company’s employees that the China plan was in its “early stages” and “exploratory”.
Google Chief Privacy Officer Keith Enright, in a blog post on Tuesday, said the users have long entrusted the company to be responsible with their data and they take that trust and responsibility very seriously.
“Google products and features cannot launch until they are approved by the specialists in our Privacy and Data Protection Office, which solicits input from across Google, as well as periodically from users and experts worldwide,” said Enright.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation had a few days back said it was set to discuss data privacy with tech companies including Google, Apple, AT&T, Amazon, and Twitter.
(With agency inputs)