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Sundar Pichai to testify before US House in November: Report

Washington, Sep 29 (IANS) Google CEO Sundar Pichai met Republican lawmakers here on Friday and agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in November to allay concerns over privacy issues and the tech giant’s entry into the Chinese market.

According to a report in USA Today, Pichai confirmed to testify in November during a private meeting with GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“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.

“As big tech’s business grows, we have not had enough transparency and that has led to an erosion of trust and perhaps worse — harm to consumers,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was quoted as saying.

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.

“Google has a lot of questions to answer about bias in its search results, violations of user privacy, anticompetitive behavior and business dealings with repressive regimes like China,” McCarthy earlier tweeted.

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”.

Earlier in September, Google was given “the empty chair treatment” at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing as neither Pichai nor Larry Page, Chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, showed up at the event on election interference, attended by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Shreyl Sandberg.

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