Back in September, Google/Alphabet declined to testify to Congress about Russian meddling during the 2016 elections. The company was widely criticized, offering to send its SVP of Global Affairs to testify alongside Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Today, Google CEO Sundar Pichai is finally testifying, but on the different matter of alleged anti-conservative bias in Search.
Sundar Pichai will be questioned by the still Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee. The hearing — titled “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and Its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practice” — will cover a wide-range of topics, but primarily accusations of political bias against conservative voices online, as charged by the Republican representatives.
On Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices.” The hearing will examine potential bias and the need for greater transparency regarding the filtering practices of tech giant Google.
Democrats hope the hearings will have a broader topic, with many still having concerns about misinformation, as well as the bigger issue of privacy and user data. This will likely be reflected by their line of questioning, and regarded to serve as a preview (via the New York Times) of how the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives will handle Big Tech over the next two years.
Congress will likely also use this hearing to question Pichai on Google’s rumored return to China with a censored search engine. The Google CEO has repeatedly stated that the project is nowhere near launch, despite other reports suggesting otherwise and renewed opposition by employees.
Members of Congress were particularly critical about Google pulling out of Project Maven with the Department of Defense, but choosing to work with the Chinese government on censorship. In written testimony released yesterday, Pichai noted the company’s “American roots” and commitment to privacy.
Pichai’s hearing starts at 10 AM EST and will be livestreamed on YouTube: