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Google CEO Will Answer Republicans Before The US House Judiciary Committee

Pichai is also meeting with Democratic lawmakers and is due to meet with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Friday.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, California.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has agreed to testify before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee later this year over Republican concerns that the company is biased against conservatives, a senior Republican said Friday.

Republicans want to question Google, the search engine of Alphabet Inc, about whether its search algorithms are influenced by human bias. They also want to probe it on issues such as privacy, classification of news and opinion, and dealing with countries with human rights violations.

Pichai met with senior Republicans on Friday to discuss their concerns, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said.

McCarthy told reporters after the meeting that it was “very productive” and “frank.”

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An empty chair reserved for Google’s parent Alphabet, which refused to send its top executive, is seen as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg accompanied by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on ‘Foreign Influence Operations and Their Use of Social Media Platforms’ on Capitol Hill. VOA

“I think we’ve really shown that there is bias, which is human nature, but you have to have transparency and fairness,” McCarthy said. “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.”

Alphabet Inc’s Google unit has repeatedly denied accusations of bias against conservatives. Pichai left the meeting without comment.

Pichai wrote in an internal email last week that suggestions that Google would interfere in search results for political reasons were “absolutely false. We do not bias our products to favor any political agenda.”

The CEO had been scheduled to be in Asia this week but canceled the trip to be in Washington.

The hearing will take place after the midterm congressional elections in November, McCarthy said.

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Pichai met with senior Republicans on Friday to discuss their concerns, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said. Wikimedia Commons

Google came under fire from members of both parties earlier this month for refusing to send a top executive to a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that included Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc executives.

Republicans have also raised concerns about Google’s dominance. Earlier this week, the Justice Department met with state attorneys general to focus on the need to protect consumer privacy when big technology companies amass vast troves of data, but came to no immediate conclusions.

Also Read: US to Probe Social Media Giants Like Facebook, Twitter Over Censorship Concern

Asked if Republicans will push to break up Google, McCarthy said: “I don’t see that.” He said the hearing will look at privacy, bias issues, China and other matters.

Pichai is also meeting with Democratic lawmakers and is due to meet with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Friday, a White House official said Thursday. (VOA)

Next Story

‘Project Nightingale’ of Google Confronts a Federal Inquiry in the US

Meanwhile, in a blog post, Google tried to clarify its partnership with Ascension

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As part of "Project Nightingale", Ascension uploaded patient data to Cloud servers of Google. Pixabay

Partnership with US healthcare organisation Ascension of Google over health data collection of millions of Americans through its “Project Nightingale” has triggered a federal probe, the media reported on Wednesday.

The Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services in the US is launching an inquiry into “Project Nightingale”, reports CNN Business.

The Office for Civil Rights “will seek to learn more information about this mass collection of individuals’ medical records to ensure that [the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 or HIPAA] protections were fully implemented”, office director Roger Severino was quoted as saying.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that “Google is engaged with one of the US’s largest health-care systems on a project to collect and crunch the detailed personal-health information of millions of people across 21 states” and at least 150 Google staffers may have access to the data.

The St. Louis-based healthcare organisation Ascension is allegedly sharing details such as lab results, diagnoses and hospitalisation records — as well as health histories complete with patient names and dates of birth — with the tech giant.

As part of “Project Nightingale”, Ascension uploaded patient data to Google’s Cloud servers.

Meanwhile, in a blog post, Google tried to clarify its partnership with Ascension.

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Partnership with US healthcare organisation Ascension of Google over health data collection of millions of Americans through its “Project Nightingale” has triggered a federal probe. Pixabay

“All of Google’s work with Ascension adheres to industry-wide regulations regarding patient data, and come with strict guidance on data privacy, security and usage,” said Tariq Shaukat, President, Industry Products and Solutions, Google Cloud.

Ascension also issued a statement, saying it is working with Google to optimise the health and wellness of individuals and communities, and deliver a comprehensive portfolio of digital capabilities that enhance the experience of Ascension consumers, patients and clinical providers across the continuum of care.

ALSO READ: Microsoft to Unveil November Update of Windows 10

According to Google, some of the solutions it is working on with Ascension are not yet in active clinical deployment, but rather are in early testing. (IANS)