Today during a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) grilled Google’s vice president for government affairs and public policy, Karan Bhatia, on a range of subjects including Google’s work on censored search engines in China, YouTube’s curation of content for pedophiles, and whether Google would commit to an independent third-party audit of its content moderation practices.
Sen. Hawley said, “Trust and confidence in your company has run out, and I think it's time for some accountability.”
A couple notable moments:
Bhatia told Sen. Hawley that Google’s censored search engine, Project Dragonfly, has been “terminated.” The exchange can be viewed here and a transcript can be found below.
- Hawley: Since you mentioned Project Dragonfly, why don’t you tell us about that, is it active right now?
- Bhatia: It’s not Senator.
- Hawley: You’re able to say that for the record? It’s not active, you’ve abandoned Project Dragonfly?
- Bhatia: Yes, we have terminated that.
Bhatia seemingly contradicted himself. First, he told Sen. Hawley Google barely does any business in China, then he said Google exited the country in 2010 when it closed shut down Google.cn. The exchange can be viewed here and a transcript can be found below.
- Hawley: What do you think about General Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his comment at the Atlantic Council a few months ago that typically, I'm quoting him: "Typically if a company does business in China, they're automatically going to be required to have a cell of the Communist Party in that company, and that is going to lead to the intellectual property from that company finding its way to the Chinese military." Do you think he's right about that? Wrong about that?
- Bhatia: Senator, we do, as I mentioned before, barely any business in China, so I don't have really the basis...
- Hawley: But you have done in the past, and you have tried to.
- Bhatia: 2010, we exited the country.