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posted by martyb on Wednesday December 12 2018, @02:14PM   Printer-friendly
from the LMGTFY dept.

Google's Sundar Pichai was grilled on privacy, data collection, and China during congressional hearing

Google's CEO testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday where lawmakers grilled him on a wide range of issues, including potential political bias on its platforms, its plans for a censored search app in China and its privacy practices.

This is the first time Pichai has appeared before Congress since Google declined to send him or Alphabet CEO Larry Page to a hearing on foreign election meddling earlier this year. That slight sparked anger among senators who portrayed Google as trying to skirt scrutiny.

[...] Tuesday's hearing was titled "Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use, and Filtering Practices" and many representatives posed questions on whether or not Google's search results were biased against conservative points of view.

[...] Another topic that came up multiple times was Google's plan to launch a censored search engine in China. The Intercept first reported details of the project over the summer, which would block search results for queries that the Chinese government deemed sensitive, like "human rights" and "student protest" and link users' searches to their personal phone numbers. [...] "Right now, we have no plans to launch search in China," Pichai answered, adding that access to information is "an important human right."

Also at Bloomberg and The Hill.

See also: Sundar Pichai had to explain to Congress why Googling 'idiot' turns up pictures of Trump
Google CEO admits company must better address the spread of conspiracy theories on YouTube
Alex Jones, Roger Stone crash Google CEO hearing
Monopoly man watches disapprovingly as Congress yells at Google's CEO

Previously: Google Plans to Launch Censored Search Engine in China, Leaked Documents Reveal
Uproar at Google after News of Censored China Search App Breaks
"Senior Google Scientist" Resigns over Chinese Search Engine Censorship Project
Google Suppresses Internal Memo About China Censorship; Eric Schmidt Predicts Internet Split
Leaked Transcript Contradicts Google's Denials About Censored Chinese Search Engine
Senators Demand Answers About Google+ Breach; Project Dragonfly Undermines Google's Neutrality


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  • (Score: 5, Touché) by stretch611 on Wednesday December 12 2018, @05:40PM (25 children)

    by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 12 2018, @05:40PM (#773546)

    From Washington Post [washingtonpost.com]:

    One Democratic lawmaker had a blunt message for his Republicans complaining about Google searches.

    “If you want positive search results, do positive things. If you don’t want negative search results, don’t do negative things,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (Cali.). “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.”

    --
    Now with 5 covid vaccine shots/boosters altering my DNA :P
    Starting Score:    1  point
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  • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday December 12 2018, @06:17PM (24 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 12 2018, @06:17PM (#773581) Homepage Journal

    Translation: That particular democrat agrees with Google's bias, and gets positive results from Google.

    --
    "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by DannyB on Wednesday December 12 2018, @07:32PM (6 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 12 2018, @07:32PM (#773623) Journal

      Translation? That doesn't seem like a translation.

      If the search engine is returning true results that you don't happen to like, it is not bias.

      --
      I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday December 12 2018, @07:40PM (4 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 12 2018, @07:40PM (#773626) Homepage Journal

        If the search engine is returning true results that you don't happen to like, it is not bias.

        If the search engine is returning true results that you don't happen to like, it is not bias. Can't argue with that statement. Nor can you argue with my statement. A person who is favored by the bias is going to like the results of that bias.

        --
        "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday December 12 2018, @08:48PM (3 children)

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 12 2018, @08:48PM (#773668) Journal

          > A person who is favored by the bias is going to like the results of that bias.

          True, assuming there is bias.

          Is it true that if Google profiles you as conservative, or into knitting, or baseball, they give you results more to your liking? (I don't know, but believe it to be true.)

          --
          I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
          • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday December 12 2018, @09:52PM

            by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday December 12 2018, @09:52PM (#773705) Journal

            Suddenly our conservatives don't understand how page-rank works.

            I wonder if they feel any shame pretending to be ignorant to fit in with their conservative buddies.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @09:58PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @09:58PM (#773713)

            What if you search for information about Nazis, and forever thereafter get results preferentially from neo-Nazi sites, especially every time you do a search in public?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13 2018, @06:42AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13 2018, @06:42AM (#773912)

              Well, there's no reason to search for information on Nazi's unless you are a Nazi, so it makes sense.

      • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Wednesday December 12 2018, @11:04PM

        by shortscreen (2252) on Wednesday December 12 2018, @11:04PM (#773754) Journal

        Last I knew, search engines were supposed to return relevant results. Has the mission now changed to returning only truthful results?

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by edIII on Wednesday December 12 2018, @07:43PM (16 children)

      by edIII (791) on Wednesday December 12 2018, @07:43PM (#773628)

      That's bullshit though and you know it. What's hard to admit, is that just maybe, Google is an accurate reflection of ourselves. Republicans have done very shitty things, and completely abandoned all moral authority by continuing to endorse the Orange Anus. With White Nationalism (aka White Supremacy) strongly linked to the Republican party now, I'm not surprised that conservative is a dirty word now. Hillary did get the popular vote, and what that really tells me is that other than fly-over country, people are strongly leaning towards liberal. I'm not excited about the far left either since I'm not down with safe spaces and criminalizing of pronoun usage. Nevertheless, you see where things are going to. So why is it so surprising that our technology is acting like a mirror?

      You really think Google deliberately made sure idiot brought up images of Trump, or that perhaps all of us keep the words "Trump" and "Idiot" trending so tightly together that it is an accurate search result? It's very hard to make a search engine have a particular political bias, and Occam's Razor tells us the simplest solution is usually the truth; That's what people are searching, that's what they're posting, so that's what comes up.

      I believe if you search for it right now the top search results are all articles explaining why the previous results happened. It already changed, which undermines any conspiracy against Trump. When you click on images, it shows a ton of pictures of Trump. Easily explainable because those are pictures that others have posted on the web with the term idiot in their description, blog, whatever, and the search results are an accurate depiction of the web. It seems that conservatives are upset about what the mirror is showing and want to manipulate it, and their efforts with gerrymandering show they would rather game the system then let it represent reality.

      Trump had a chance to make the Republicans truly more popular with the independents, progressives, disaffected Democrats, and centrists. Except he wasn't nearly the President he claimed, and hasn't accomplished jack diddly shit for the people. Drain the swamp? He just changed who was in it and had control. His behavior with the TPP, and claims he would renegotiate trade to our advantage, are his ONLY good actions, and they're tainted. So again, I'm not surprised by what the mirror is showing. It tracks.

      Finally, can you really blame Google for this alone? You know of the tech cold war against Google's algorithms and different attempts to manipulate it. I would sooner believe that an organized external campaign was waged to game Google, almost like a service a PR or advertising company would provide legally..... and then why again? Just so idiot and Trump trends? As if that would influence votes at this point?

      --
      Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
      • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday December 12 2018, @08:08PM (13 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 12 2018, @08:08PM (#773639) Homepage Journal

        Google is an accurate reflection of ourselves.

        I don't accept that, but, if it is true, then America should be embarrassed. Under the guise of eliminating an ages-old racist culture, you are instituting another racist culture. Under the guise of battling fascism, you are trying to build a Soviet style authoritarian state. If that is a reflection of yourselves, so be it. Just don't waste time arguing with me that your racist, soviet state is somehow superior to the status quo. And, PLEASE, openly admit that the left has abandoned The Dream of Martin Luther King. You simply cannot have King's dream, while establishing a New Racist Order.

        Google deliberately made sure idiot brought up images of Trump,

        Google actively suppresses results that cast women and minorities in a poor light. If Google is allowing images of Trump to crop up when "idiot" is searched for, then yes, Google has made a conscious decision to do so.

        right now the top search results are all articles explaining why the previous results happened.

        True. Plausible deniability - ring any bells? Google feels the need to make excuses for the association of the term and the image. And, despite the apparent shift in focus on Google's part, Trump's image is still seen when you search for "idiot".

        upset about what the mirror is showing

        Remember when this search yeilded images of a worn-out has-been drunken lush? Who was upset then? https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=CGkRXKKlOpCUtQWBkbqYAQ&q=what+difference+does+it+make&btnK=Google+Search&oq=what+difference+does+it+make&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0l10.2964.7668..8066...0.0..0.544.10512.2-3j9j11j3......0....1..gws-wiz.....0..0i131j0i3j0i10.ttsURHSqaTk [google.com] (ehhhh - google URLs - no I'm not "fixing" it, I copied it directly from my address bar.)

        Trump had a chance to make the Republicans truly more popular with the independents, progressives, disaffected Democrats, and centrists.

        But, why would he? Trump is no Republican. In fact, Trump was popular with Democrats - until he decided to challenge Hillary in the presidential race. Trump is a populist, a loose cannon, who first beat out all the Republicans, and then beat the Democrat running against the R's.

        can you really blame Google

        Google has been waging war against males, whites, heteros, and people of faith, not to mention conservatives, for quite a long while now. Yes, I blame Google.

        --
        "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
        • (Score: 5, Funny) by PartTimeZombie on Wednesday December 12 2018, @08:27PM (3 children)

          by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Wednesday December 12 2018, @08:27PM (#773654)

          Google has been waging war against males, whites, heteros, and people of faith, not to mention conservatives, for quite a long while now.

          That's true. Every time I go to the toilet Google sends a trans person in to stare at me while I pee, which is very off putting.

          The real problem of course is the Gay Atheist Ninjas who keep trying to kill me all the time. Google sends those too, and while the sandbags help, I'm running low on ammo.

          It's really hard being a white man lately.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @09:05PM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @09:05PM (#773680)

            Funny, the same things keep happening to me as well. Does this mean I must be a conservative?

            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by PartTimeZombie on Wednesday December 12 2018, @11:25PM (1 child)

              by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Wednesday December 12 2018, @11:25PM (#773769)

              Maybe.

              Do you get really, really angry at the thought that a trans-gender person might be able to choose where they go to the toilet, even though you have never actually met a trans-gender person?

              If you do, you might be a conservative.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13 2018, @04:56AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13 2018, @04:56AM (#773892)

                I'm angry at my biology teacher for lying to me.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @08:42PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @08:42PM (#773661)

          You've posted stupid shit plenty of times before, but this post in particular seems like the veil is lifting off of your true regressive nature. When chided for making pro-trump statements you say you didn't vote for him and he is a jackass, but then you post "Trump is a populist, a loose cannon, who first beat out all the Republicans, and then beat the Democrat running against the R's." which is a total joke now that everyone knows he colluded with Russia and that the GOP has been actively committing election fraud.

          "Google has been waging war against males, whites, heteros, and people of faith, not to mention conservatives, for quite a long while now. Yes, I blame Google."

          You are truly a dumbass, mixed with a jackass, and a little bit of Klan tossed in for good measure.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @09:09PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @09:09PM (#773684)

            It's kinda like that scene in Indiana Jones and whatever, where the Nazi says, "Germany has declared war on the Jones Boys!", except that it is more like "SoylentNews has declared war on the Runawaty1956!" Now Runaway has a war on two fronts, both Goog and SN. Whatever you do, Runaway, do not attempt to invade Russia. Mostly because you are already there.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by DannyB on Wednesday December 12 2018, @08:55PM (2 children)

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 12 2018, @08:55PM (#773676) Journal

          Google actively suppresses results that cast women and minorities in a poor light.

          That is about protecting a class of people.

          If Google is allowing images of Trump to crop up when "idiot" is searched for, then yes, Google has made a conscious decision to do so.

          Do you really think so? Do you think someone actually filters through the ocean of information with an eye dropper and tweezers?

          If Trump is the response to 'idiot', then Google merely REFLECTS that the web apparently says so.

          Now whether Google should fix this is debatable. On one hand, Trump is not a protected class of people and so it's okay for idiot to return Trump, if the web says so and the algorithm fairly detected this correlation. But on the other hand, idiot may be a class of persons to protect, and they should not unfairly be associated with Trump.

          --
          I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @10:16PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @10:16PM (#773727)

            That is about protecting a class of people.

            Which is called bias towards a class of people, which is also known as prejudice or bigotry.

            And when every possible class of people except for white men has these "protections", these protections are now the norm and there is now institutionalized racism and sexism against the one group that is denied these protections.

            And when Google executives hold meetings gloating about how few white men they are hiring, that is hate.

            • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @10:39PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @10:39PM (#773739)

              And when every possible class of people except for white men has these "protections", these protections are now the norm and there is now institutionalized racism and sexism against the one group that is denied these protections.

              Oh, you poor poor snowflake!

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by edIII on Wednesday December 12 2018, @09:54PM (2 children)

          by edIII (791) on Wednesday December 12 2018, @09:54PM (#773707)

          I don't accept that, but, if it is true, then America should be embarrassed. Under the guise of eliminating an ages-old racist culture, you are instituting another racist culture. Under the guise of battling fascism, you are trying to build a Soviet style authoritarian state. If that is a reflection of yourselves, so be it. Just don't waste time arguing with me that your racist, soviet state is somehow superior to the status quo. And, PLEASE, openly admit that the left has abandoned The Dream of Martin Luther King. You simply cannot have King's dream, while establishing a New Racist Order.

          Of course America should be embarrassed. Russia was able to manipulate our elections by manipulating us through power we willingly gave as sheep to some tech giants. I'm not sure what racist culture is replacing the old racist culture. You seem to be talking about the extreme left which is as fucking nutty and intellectually and ethically offensive as the far right.

          "Your"? Slow the fuck down buddy. I'm not part of the extreme left by any measures, and being pro-union and pro-hybrid-socialist-capitalist does not group me in with them. I'm not arguing that either the status quo or the extreme left vision of America is correct. Both are reprehensible on many levels.

          I don't what the fuck you are going about with this "New Racist Order". I know a lot of liberals, and lot of them are surprised that in the last decade that the left got stretched so much farther to the left, and that they're actually closer to centrist now. When you say "Left" you lose a lot of fucking people, because none of those people advocate for safe spaces, decriminalization of pronoun usage, free speech restrictions, etc. Every liberal I knew was offended by the teacher in SF that punched a demonstrating Nazi, who was not provoking anyone beyond enjoying his right to protest and be on the soap box. We were offended she thought it was legal, ethical, and moral to punch the man because he was a Nazi. That's bullshit, and it's also extreme fucking bullshit to paint the whole Left with the same brush. Do you think nobody on the left can tell the difference between a conservative, White Nationalist, and far far right ethnostate nutbag?

          Dr. Martin Luther King is my hero. Yes, I think he would be rolling in his grave seeing Antifi and their militant response to the militant response the White Nationalists put out. It's not an excuse, and Dr. King would say to turn the other cheek, and the only way to can defeat them is to engage them conversation, and above all, peaceful resistance.

          Google actively suppresses results that cast women and minorities in a poor light. If Google is allowing images of Trump to crop up when "idiot" is searched for, then yes, Google has made a conscious decision to do so.

          I've heard nothing about that at all, and you're just so completely full of it with your assumption it was a conscious decision to do so. Conscious decision making does not scale, and it's an algorithm. People getting butthurt by Google fail to realize that Google represents what all of us are saying and doing on the web. It's truly nonsense to think a sentient human being is at Google actively out for conservatives. Especially when the other possibilities make a hell of a lot more sense, like there are a ton of people out there saying Trump is an idiot and posting memes. One is conspiracy, the other is established fact.

          True. Plausible deniability - ring any bells? Google feels the need to make excuses for the association of the term and the image. And, despite the apparent shift in focus on Google's part, Trump's image is still seen when you search for "idiot".

          Uh huh. Google didn't do jack shit, unless you mean engage in an immediate conspiracy with all media (conservative or otherwise), to make articles about it trend higher. Google only indexes content, it does not create it. Again, Google didn't shift whatsoever, it's the images of Trump along with negative captioning that causes those search results. The content in the search results is real. The only claim you can have is that there was an external campaign to create all that content out there, negative to Trump. The real truth remains, if there was a ton of positive content associated with him, you would find that instead.

          Google has been waging war against males, whites, heteros, and people of faith, not to mention conservatives, for quite a long while now. Yes, I blame Google.

          No it hasn't. If it has done anything, it is to put up the mirror. Other than a minority of people on the far extreme left, I don't hear anything against males specifically, or straight people, or white people, or religious people, or conservatives. Males? You mean me-too? Well suck it up because I'm old enough to know they're not all lying. This has been a day on its way for some time now, and yes, men need to answer for some shit. Religious people aren't under attack, what is under attack is their bullshit attempts to control the rest of us based on their sky people beliefs. If that means they can't discriminate against a gay guy, that's a good thing.

          What you're saying here is delusional, and to blame Google for society doesn't make any sense. They're a mirror, and that's clearly what upsets you more than anything. Google isn't the problem. Facebook isn't the problem. Twitter isn't the problem. We're all the problem.

          You get your wish to control and regulate Google, and you're going to be sorely disappointed. The regulators aren't going to find a person, but a machine. 3rd party analysis of the algorithm won't show favoritism. It won't change society, or magically raise Trump's numbers overnight either.

          --
          Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @10:13PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @10:13PM (#773724)

            Of course America should be embarrassed. Russia was able to manipulate our elections by manipulating us through power we willingly gave as sheep to some tech giants.

            From another comment site: "To pretend that a global businessman, who did have business interests in Russia, was shoved into office by the Russians, as if the American people were remotely controlled zombies, is the pinnacle of a propaganda narrative that takes voters to be dumb. A handful of social media postings hypnotized electors to vote for Trump? Sure. In reality the electorate of 2016 could only express this and only this: That they disliked Hillary Clinton so much, they would rather have anyone else, no matter how revolting of a jackass, in office. That is not the Russians' fault, that is the fault of the US elites." (anja-boettcher1 at spiegel.de)

            • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Thursday December 13 2018, @12:08AM

              by Mykl (1112) on Thursday December 13 2018, @12:08AM (#773790)

              I agree that Russian interference couldn't influence the election more than a percentage point or two. However, that was all that was needed in the end.

              I strongly suspect that Trump would've lost if he had been up against anyone other than Hillary. The Dems pushed many votes Trump's way by anointing her, and the Russians added the final straw(s) to the camel's back through Fake News etc.

              And if you think that the American public is too smart to fall for that, remember that there are many examples that disprove that theory (My favourite one is that Gwyneth Paltrow's company Goop is still in business...)

        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @11:03PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @11:03PM (#773753)

          Google actively suppresses results that cast women [...] in a poor light.

          And this is why their image search is superior, for one thing at least...

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @11:35PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12 2018, @11:35PM (#773778)

        If you think Google is not deliberately and actively biased, search Google for "white couples' and take a look how few are white.

        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday December 13 2018, @03:12PM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 13 2018, @03:12PM (#773972) Homepage Journal

          Yup, just an algorithm. Someone sat down, and decided, "We don't want to protray happy couples who are both white. We've got to send a message, so when anyone searches "white couple" they must get at least 20% black/white couples, and at least 35% or white/Asian and/or white/Hispanic. There must also be 10% of black couples, because black and white are so easily confused."

          Doing a search for black couples, I see black woman, black man, just as any rational person would expect. Scroll down the page a ways, there's a light skinned woman who I think might be white, scroll a little more, another who could pass for white, but has an authentic looking Afro, another woman who is very light skinned and can pass for white, down about four more rows, I see, clearly labeled, "Asian Black Couples" with a black man and a light skinned woman who might be any Asian race/nationality. One single white guy with a black woman looks very out of place on this page. That's with a page setup giving me 51 rows of 9 images each.

          But, there's no bias, it's just an algorithm. /sarcasm

          --
          "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden