Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) delivered the following remarks today at a House Judiciary Committee hearing titled, “Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices.”
Full remarks are below, or watch online here.
“Thank you Chairman Goodlatte for working with me to organize this hearing.
“And thank you to Mr. Pichai for finally testifying on Capitol Hill. We appreciate and note your willingness to travel here and answer our questions, first in a private setting and now in a public setting.
“Google is one of the most valuable companies in America, because of what it does. Google’s search engine organizes the entire Internet—and by extension, almost all the information in the world.
“That is hardly an exaggeration. Here is a statistic you will hear a lot today, but it bears repeating: According to the Wall Street Journal, 90 percent of all Internet searches go through Google.
“That is power. And it comes with responsibility.
“Mr. Pichai, it was necessary to convene this hearing because of the widening gap of distrust between Silicon Valley and the American People.
“For our country and economy to grow stronger, the American people must have trust in the great companies of the 21st Century.
“We can alleviate some of their concerns today, with transparency and candor. I hope we can begin to restore trust in the technology companies that shape our world. But we need answers.
“We need to know, first, that Google is committed to the free-market ideals of competition and entrepreneurship that lifted its revolutionary products to begin with.
“Second, we need to be sure that any political bias within Google’s workforce does not creep into its search products.
“Third, we need to know that Google is living up to America’s belief in free expression and human rights when it deals with foreign governments.
“A word on that last subject.
“Right now, Google reportedly is developing a censored search engine with the Chinese Communist Party.
“It is also developing next-generation technology on Chinese soil and in conjunction with Chinese “national champions” like Tencent—technology that the Administration considers a national priority.
“This news raises a troubling possibility: That Google is being used to strengthen China’s system of surveillance, repression, and control.
“Right this very second, China’s authoritarian system detains more than a million religious minorities in re-education camps.
“Mr. Pichai, I urge you to reflect on that fact—and on the “promise” your company made when it pulled out of the Chinese market in 2010.
“Back then, Google promised it would not censor its search results in China or compromise its commitment to a free and open Internet.
“In light of recent events, I think the American people deserve to know: What changed?
“All of these topics—competition, censorship, bias, and others—point to one fundamental question that demands the nation’s attention: Are America’s technology companies serving as instruments of freedom—or instruments of control?
“Are they fulfilling the promises of the Digital Age? Are they advancing the cause of self-government?
“Or are they serving as instruments of manipulation, used by powerful interests and foreign governments to rob the people of their power, agency, and dignity?
“I believe we need to grapple with these questions together, as a nation.
“Because the Free World depends on a free Internet. We need to know that Google is on the side of the Free World, and that it will provide its services free of anti-competitive behavior, political bias, and censorship.
“Thank you again for being here. I look forward to listening to your answers with an open mind.”