By Cat Zakrzewski Cat Zakrzewski Technology
Google chief executive Sundar Pichai is sworn in before the House Judiciary Committee in Washington on Dec. 11. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
I'm tired of carefully asked questions, carefully chosen responses (or dodges) and point tallies for whether a company or a committee "won" a hearing. This is not a jury trial. This is policy making involving the most influential forces in the world.— Shira Ovide (@ShiraOvide) December 11, 2018
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Google chief executive Sundar Pichai appears before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 11. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
During the hearing, lawmakers from both parties warned Pichai about developing a search engine that would abide by China’s censorship regime, The Post's Tony Romm and Craig Timberg reported. “Pichai, who acknowledged in questioning from lawmakers that roughly 100 people have worked on the project but repeatedly said Google currently has ‘no plans’ to offer a new product for China, later told the Post that it was too soon to put any parameters on the effort."
Cicilline asked Pichai if he would “rule out launching a tool for surveillance and censorship in China” while he serves as chief executive of Google. Pichai would not, saying instead it is the company's mission “to explore possibilities to give users access to information.” Cicilline later told Bloomberg he was "disappointed" with Google's answers on China.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), seen on a television screen, speaks to Rep. Jerry Nadler (N.Y.), the committee's ranking Democrat, during the appearance of Google chief executive Sundar Pichai before the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 11. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
Pichai sought to dispel claims that Google harbors bias against conservative views and content on its platforms. “Pichai insisted that Google is careful to avoid political bias in its search engine and other products,” Tony and Craig reported from the hearing. But Republican lawmakers were not persuaded. From Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.): “The muting of conservative voices by Internet platforms has intensified, especially during the presidency of Donald Trump.”
In order to counter claims that Google engineers manipulate online search results, Lofgren, a Democrat, also asked Pichai to explain why a photo of Trump appeared in the results after she entered the word “idiot” in the company's image search engine:
BYTES: Though lawmakers displayed a better grasp on technology issues than at the April hearing with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, they still had a few questions that seemed better suited for tech support than for the leader of one of the world's most valuable companies.
After Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) voiced concerns about a photo and comments that appeared on his granddaughter's iPhone as she was playing a game on the device, Pichai replied: “Congressman, iPhone is made by a different company.” King then said that “it might have been an Android. It's just, it was a hand-me-down of some kind.”
Rep. Steve King: "How does that show up on a 7-year old's iPhone who's playing a kid's game?"— CSPAN (@cspan) December 11, 2018
Google CEO Sundar Pichai: ""Congressman, iPhone is made by a different company…"
Watch full hearing here: https://t.co/w6Qhg7xb5b pic.twitter.com/4lT8Daj5yn
From BuzzFeed News's Eric Morrow:
Rep. Poe spent a minute asking Sundar Pichai if Google tracks him through his iPhone. Pichai tries to explain it would depend on what apps and permissions he has, but Poe kept yelling "It's either yes or no!" pic.twitter.com/4VLkR9hZKA— Eric Morrow (@morroweric) December 11, 2018
Poe wants to be dramatic with this exchange asking about Google tracking. Pichai is an engineer who's saying, essentially, it depends on his settings. That nuance isn't really gonna work with this sort of political theater.— Tony Romm (@TonyRomm) December 11, 2018
Here's it is! Cohen asks Pichai if Google should have an "online school people could go to, with a Google representative, and you can log in and ask questions, and not like Comcast where you get put on hold for 30 minutes... and talk to somebody and say, how do i do this?"— Tony Romm (@TonyRomm) December 11, 2018
Rep. Cohen wants Pichai to look into overuse of conservative news results … says he was on MSNBC four times and results for his name were all conservative outlets like Daily Caller, Breitbart, etc.— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) December 11, 2018
When Rep. Cohen gets his Google school lets make sure they teach him about SEO
-- Tuesday's hearing "had the trappings of a modern Washington circus," my colleague Drew Harwell wrote yesterday.
"A man dressed as the mascot of the game Monopoly, Rich Uncle Pennybags, sat quietly in the crowd, peering through a monocle. Another protester opened the hearing-room doors and flashed a sign with Google’s name in the Chinese flag — a silent criticism of the company’s ongoing development of products that could align with the desires of the surveillance state," he wrote.
— Ian Madrigal, a.k.a. “Monopoly Man,” was in attendance at the Google hearing. “Madrigal, who recently changed their name from Amanda Werner and uses gender neutral pronouns, said in a statement on Twitter that they were holding a ‘Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card’ at the Google hearing,” CNBC's Lauren Feiner reported. “Madrigal is a strategy director for Revolution Messaging, the firm run by Keegan Goudiss, Bernie Sanders' director of digital advertising during the 2016 election.”
— "The hearing was crashed by longtime Trump crony Roger Stone and far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who called Google 'the most horrible corporation on earth' to anyone in the halls willing to listen," Drew writes. Jones tracked Pichai down the Capitol building hallways as the Google executive walked to the hearing, yelling that the CEO had "lied to Congress," the Hill's Jacqueline Thomsen reported.
From the New York Times's Daisuke Wakabayashi:
Alex Jones storms through the hallways outside the google ceo hearing chanting “Google is Evil!!” When a police officer told him to quiet down, he says Sundar “is trying to take away my free speech and lying about it” pic.twitter.com/YvRG3oqP0S— Daisuke Wakabayashi (@daiwaka) December 11, 2018
Alex Jones and Roger Stone are in the building for the Google hearing. "Sundar and Google are absolutely the most horrible corporation on earth," he says. pic.twitter.com/wLHBCEILHA— Cristiano Lima (@viaCristiano) December 11, 2018
The Uber logo is seen at the second annual Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles on May 8. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
— Sidecar, a defunct ride-hailing company, is suing Uber. “The lawsuit, filed in U.S. district court in San Francisco on Tuesday morning, claims ‘Uber became hell-bent on stifling competition from competing ride-hailing apps,’ and used subsidies and made fake ride requests to competitors in a bid to dominate the market,” according to Reuters's Heather Somerville. “Sidecar went out of business in December 2015 and sold its assets to General Motors Co in 2016.”
— More technology news from the private sector:
The sun sets behind the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington on Nov. 6. (James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)
- Federal Trade Commission hearing on data security.
- The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation hosts a discussion titled “Is ‘Big Tech’ Now Synonymous With Big Oil or Big Tobacco?” in Washington.
- The Washington Post holds a Technology 202 Live event on technology, mobility and the future of cities tomorrow.
Will Democrats confronting Trump become a new normal?
“Truth isn't truth”: Rudy Giuliani tops 2018's quotes of the year list.
Anyone can create a new emoji. Here’s an animated guide to doing it right:
Source: The Washington Post