Google CEO Sundar Pichai testify before Congress

Google CEO Sundar Pichai testify before Congress

Emailed on Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai testify / appeared before US congress Judiciary committee on 5th December 2018 to answer some of the tough questions by US congressmen.

The committee named the hearing “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices”.

US committee asked Sundar Pichai several questions related to

  • Algorithmic bias in search results,
  • How search works,
  • How and what type of data Google stores,
  • Why Google is collecting huge amount of user location data,
  • Is Google read Gmail and
  • Will Google help to make a law on User privacy and data protection like Europeans(GDPR) and more.

Committee asked Pichai about, “how many American users knows what type of data stored by Google with or without their consent.

Most importantly how they (Users) can restrict the collection of the data”?  

The example stated by one of the congressmen is, “if they search the term Idiot under Image tab, search results shows the photo of President Donald Trump

So who decide or judge, what results to be shown and how search works? Why Google favors one website over other?

Sundar Pichai denied the allegations of search bias by arguing that, “search results are based on certain data points and result of billions of information filtering across the web and Indexing”.

How many times Android phone sent users location history to the company? Surprisingly more over 340-350 times in just 24 hours one of the congressman said.

Why Google need so much data of user’s location? Better location based advertisement and service to our users said Pichai.

And yes, if you turned off your GPS, Google can still be able to track user’s location through IP address (Chrome can do this for free).

Russian meddling in 2016 US elections

Committee members asked Google CEO, “what type of actions and necessity arrangements it did, to avoid such type of incidents in the future to protect the American democracy. 

How YouTube videos monitored over hate speech, Propaganda and fake protest. (YouTube has its own AI system in a place which can identify spike in the likes, dislikes, shares and so, system can understand the actions were taken by bots and not humans and YouTube AI will take down the video within hours)

Google found another Bug in Google+

Couple of days back, Google found another bug in struggling social network Google+ and now search giant is planning to close down the app before what previously informed. 

Google+ bug exposed approximately 500000 user data to hackers but no evidence found of data misuse till date.  

Google Dragonfly Project

US Congressmen asked questions on whether  censored search engine development for China (Code-named Dragonfly) is still going or Google stopped working after the Internal protest by employees?

“Google is currently not planning any launch of search products in China”, said CEO Pichai. But they did work on the development on the project and company is open to explore other options.

Currently Google Search and Gmail is not allowed in China. Android Platform used by OEM of smartphones worked under certain agreements.

Political bias? in search results

How Google judge, between the searches when two political candidates from oppositions pay for ads to Google and how the rate (price) of the ads differentiate between platforms? Why Pro-Trump content 90% time tagged as fake news?   

Google CEO has provided several answers to the US congress committee in Subjective as well as descriptive manner and to assure them, company is not bias in any search results, all algorithms (Who writes algorithms?) and its working on diversity with no Dragonfly for now.

“Google is able to collect an amount of information about its users that would even make the NSA blush,” Bob Goodlatte said (Chair of the House Judiciary Committee).

US congress grilled Facebook COO Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in September 2018 over the user privacy and data protection, fake news and Hate speech.


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