Sundar Pichai testifies before Congress Committee; denies Google having any political bias

Google’s Indian-American CEO Sundar Pichai on Tuesday denied the allegations of his company having any political bias, saying the internet giant’s algorithms have no such sentiments.

Pichai, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee Hearing on ‘Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use, and Filtering Practices’, said some of the Googlers are former servicemen and women who have risked much in defence of the country.

Some are civil libertarians who fiercely defend freedom of expression, he told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing.

“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,” Pichai said.

“We are a company that provides platforms for diverse perspectives and opinions, and we have no shortage of them among our own employees.

“Some are parents who worry about the role technology plays in our households. Some, like me, are immigrants to this country, profoundly grateful for the freedom and opportunities it offers. Some of us are many of these things,” Pichai said.

Recollecting his days of growing up in India, Pichai said he has distinct memories of when his family got its first phone and their first television.

“Each new technology made a profound difference in our lives. Getting the phone meant that I could call ahead to the hospital to check that the blood results were in before I traveled two hours by bus to get them,” he said.

“The television, well, it only had one channel, but I couldn’t have been more thrilled by its arrival! Those experiences made me a technology optimist, and I remain one today.

“Not only because I believe in technology, but because I believe in people and their ability to use technology to improve their lives. I’m incredibly proud of what Google does to empower people around the world, especially here in the US,” Pichai said.

He said that today, Google is more than a search engine.

“We are a global company that is committed to building products for everyone. That means working with many industries, from education and healthcare to manufacturing and entertainment.

“As an American company, we cherish the values and freedom that have allowed us to grow and serve so many users. I am proud to say we do work, and we will continue to work, with the government to keep our country safe and secure,” he told the lawmakers.

Responding to questions, Pichai said Google’s algorithms have no political sentiments, denying allegations that Google Search favors liberal content.

“Our algorithms have no notion of political sentiment,” he said.

Testifying before the Judiciary Committee, Congressman Kevin McCarthy alleged that Google is being used to strengthen China’s system of surveillance, repression and control.

“Right this very second, China’s authoritarian system detains more than a million religious minorities in reeducation camps. Mr Pichai, I urge you to reflect on that fact and on the promise your company made when it pulled out of the China market in 2010. And I applauded you for that move in 2010. Back then, Google promised it would not censor its search results in China or compromise its commitment to a free and open internet,” the Congressman added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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