Sudar Pichai, the Google CEO faces grilling from US lawmakers on how Google has handled the alarming data breach and if it would bend to the Chinese government censorship demand.
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The appearance of Sundar Pichai on 11th December before the House Judiciary Committee came after he had angered the Senate panel members in September, as he declined their invitation to testify on foreign governments' manipulation of online services to sway U.S. elections. With Sundar Pichai not showing up at the hearing was marked by an empty chair for Google along with Twitter and Facebook executives.
In order to mend fences, Pichai had gone to Washington later in September and meet some two dozen Republicans, indicating that he planned on meeting the Democrats as well. The Google CEO took part in a White House meeting last week with other tech industry executives that focused on getting government and businesses working closely to stimulate emerging technology that includes AI (Artificial Intelligence).
Google had announced in October that it was shutting down its long-shunned Google Plus social media network, followed with its disclosure of flaw that was discovered in March that had a potential of exposing personal information of almost 500,000 people.
According to a Wall Street Journal report citing anonymous individuals and documents, the company purposely avoided disclosing the privacy lapse at a time, to avoid drawing regulators' scrutiny and damaging its reputation, as the Lawmakers wants Google to explain its failure in revealing the breach.
With the recent reports, the lawmakers are also concerned about Google's plan on re-entering China, with a search engine that would generate censored results to comply with the Chinese government.
Google was accused by President Donald Trump too, of rigging the results of its dominant search engine to contain conservative viewpoints and highlight media coverage that according to him distribute 'fake news'.
Although the company has denied any political bias and there is no evidence of an anti-conservative tilt, this could be another area for potential questions by the committee members to Pichai.
Pichai said in his written testimony that "I lead this company without political bias and work to ensure that our products continue to operate that way. To do otherwise would go against our core principles and our business interests."
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