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Indian-American Ajit Pai may be head US Communication commission

Currently, the FCC is headed by Tom Wheeler, a nominee of the Democratic Party, and a change in leadership is due with the election of Trump

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New York, Jan 19, 2017: Ajit Pai, a commissioner in the US communications regulatory agency, has met President-elect Donald Trump amid speculation that he could head the body that deals with cellphone spectrum and broadcasting.

Trump’s spokesperson Sean Spicer said on Tuesday that the meeting with Pai, who is the Republican nominee on the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), took place on Monday.

Currently, the FCC is headed by Tom Wheeler, a nominee of the Democratic Party, and a change in leadership is due with the election of Trump.

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The position of FCC chairman has to be approved by the Senate.

The FCC is the federal authority regulating radio, television, phone, cellphone spectrum and services, internet and satellite and cable.

Pai, whose parents are doctors who immigrated from India, is a lawyer and has served with the government, Congress and the private sector.

A free enterprise advocate in the Republican mould, he has been a critic of the functioning of the FCC and has clashed with its leadership.

Recently, he took issue with an FCC report that questioned the legality of offerings that are used by people to access online music, videos, and other content free of charge.

Trump has nominated two Indian-Americans to high-level positions: Nikki Haley as the Cabinet-level Ambassador to the United Nations, and Seema Verma as the head of the agency for government health insurance programmes.

In addition, Trump has appointed Raj Shah as his deputy assistant and research director on the White House staff.

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Another Indian American, Balaji Srinivasan, met Trump last week and Spicer said that he was under consideration for a role at the the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

Srinivasan is a technology entrepreneur who has founded a biotech company and has been critical of the links between large pharmaceutical companies and the FDA and the agency’s reach that he asserted stifles tech innovations.

He currently heads a start-up that deals with bitcoin, the internet-based currency. (IANS)

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Googling ‘idiot’ Bringing up Donald Trump Pictures Drags Google in Trouble

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech

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Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing "examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices" on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

US Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, in an effort to understand how Google search algorithms work, asked its CEO Sundar Pichai why so many pictures of President Donald Trump appear when she does a Google search for “idiot”.

“Right now, if you Google the word ‘idiot’ under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. I just did that,” the California Democrat told Pichai during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday here.

“How would that happen? How does search work so that would occur?” Lofgren asked Pichai, according to the Washington Post.

The Google CEO — who was at the hearing to address allegations of political bias in his company’s widely used search engine — said the results were based on billions of keywords ranked according to over 200 factors such as relevance, popularity, how others were using the search term, to determine how to best match a query with results.

“So it’s not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we’re going to show the user?” Lofgren asked. “It’s basically a compilation of what users are generating.”

Republicans have long accused Google of political bias, which the company has strongly denied.

Climate Change, Trump, disasters
Why googling ‘idiot’ brings up Trump photos, Congresswoman asks Pichai. VOA

In August, Trump said in a tweet that a Google search for “Trump News” showed only reports from “Fake News Media.” He concluded it was “rigged” against him so “almost all stories and news was bad.”

House Republicans said they wanted to hold the hearing — entitled “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices” — to make sure the search giant was being impartial.

“Americans put their trust in big tech companies to honour freedom of speech and champion open dialogue,” Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia said in a statement before the hearing.

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech.

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In response to Republicans who complained about Google searches, Democratic Representative Ted Lieu said: “If you want positive search results, do positive things. If you don’t want negative search results, don’t do negative things.”

“And to some of my colleagues across the aisle, if you’re getting bad press articles and bad search results, don’t blame Google or Facebook or Twitter, consider blaming yourself.” (IANS)