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The Latest: House committee kicks of grilling of Google CEO

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Google CEO before Congress (all times local):

12:10 p.m.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is reiterating the company’s position that it has no plans “right now” to launch a censored search engine in China.

That, of course, leaves the option open to launch one down the road.

Pichai is being grilled by members of the House Judiciary Committee on various topics, including perceived bias against conservative viewpoints, something Google denies.

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Google has not offered search services in China since it largely left the country in 2010.

If that changes, Pichai promised to be “fully transparent” about the move.

Pichai, who became CEO in 2015, has said in the past that he wants Google to be in China serving Chinese users.

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11:30 a.m.

Republican lawmakers are grilling Google CEO Sundar Pichai on what they perceive as a bias against conservative viewpoints on the search giant’s services.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says he’s concerned Google’s business practices may have been influenced by employees’ political bias against conservatives.

The question has dogged tech companies for years, but there has been no credible evidence that political leanings factor into Google’s search algorithm.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, the committee’s top Democrat, called the notion of bias a “delusion” and a “right-wing conspiracy theory.”

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Nadler says Tuesday’s hearing is the House Judiciary Committee’s fourth one to address political bias. He says lawmakers should instead examine issues such as the spread of misinformation and Russia’s efforts to influence U.S. elections online.

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10:25 a.m.

A House committee has kicked off its grilling of Google CEO Sundar Pichai. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is asking if tech companies are “serving as instruments of freedom or instruments of control” in the U.S. and beyond.

McCarthy, a California Republican, says Google had to testify because of the “widening gap of distrust” between tech companies and the American people.

Pichai is facing the Republican-majority House Judiciary Committee before Democrats take control of the House in January. Lawmakers are asking him about alleged bias in the company’s search results, as well as its reported plans to launch a censored search engine in China.

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3 a.m.

Google’s CEO faces a grilling from U.S. lawmakers on how the web search giant handled an alarming data breach and whether it may bend to Chinese government censorship demands.

CEO Sundar Pichai’s appearance Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee comes after he angered members of a Senate panel in September by declining their invitation to testify about foreign governments’ manipulation of online services to sway U.S. elections. Pichai’s no-show at that hearing was marked by an empty chair for Google alongside the Facebook and Twitter executives.

Pichai went to Washington later in September to mend fences. He took part last week in a White House meeting with other tech industry executives that focused mainly on getting government and businesses working more closely on accelerating emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

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