Science and TechData Privacy and Cybersecurity


Google CEO Defends Company's Privacy Practices Before House Lawmakers

In a House committee hearing, Sundar Pichai was asked about how Google tracks location data and if it's biased against conservative voices.
Posted at 6:07 PM, Dec 11, 2018

Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday about a laundry list of items ranging from privacy practices and data collection to Chinese censorship. 

The hearing comes as Washington is taking steps to crack down on big tech companies and the way they handle consumers' information.

Lawmakers wanted answers directly from Google's chief, with some congressional Republicans inquiring about allegations Google is biased against conservative opinions. Pichai responded that the tech giant is nonpartisan.

"I lead this company without political bias and work to ensure that our products continue to operate that way," he said. "To do otherwise would go against our core principles and our business interests."

He went on to address reports about Google building a search engine for China that would require compliance with the country's censorship laws. Pichai said there are no solid plans to launch that product. 

Another key topic was location data and how much of it Google collects. According to the CEO, the company lets its users control location collection. 

Earlier this year, Google came under fire for its alleged practice of recording Android users' location data — even when certain privacy settings were turned on. 

It also recently defended — and explained — its email data-sharing practices in a letter to lawmakers amid concerns about "potential misuse of personal data."

On Monday, the tech giant announced a security breach in its Google+ social network that exposed the personal information of more than 52 million users. The platform will now be shut down earlier than originally planned.

Tuesday's hearing marked Pichai's first formal visit to Capitol Hill; he failed to show up for a September Senate hearing on foreign social media influence. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN