House Committee Chairman Upbraids Google

    January 26, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Virginia Republican Tom Davis, chair of the House Government Reform Committee, called out Google for cooperating with China but not the US on its requests.

The first interesting piece of the article is that Davis chairs a committee on government reform. Who would have even thought we had a committee on government reform?

The second interesting bit (ie, that which we’ll discuss here) concerns his criticisms of Google regarding the Department of Justice subpoenas from last August. Unlike AOL, MSN, and Yahoo, Google did not capitulate to the quietly issued subpoenas, forcing the government to file a lawsuit seeking compliance.

Davis spoke at a Microsoft-sponsored public-sector CIO summit on January 25th, and decried how Google “bent over backwards” for China’s government:

“Google gave the Chinese everything they wanted. They’re not going to put data on there about human rights,” Davis said.

“What does it mean to be a corporate citizen, working to bring terrorists or child pornographers to bear? What are the boundaries?….These are new areas for a lot of us that we’ve got to work our way through.”

While Google has stiff-armed DOJ on the subpoena, citing users’ privacy, it is more likely they wish to protect trade secrets that could be unveiled in the volumes of data DOJ requested. Davis did hold out hope Google would quit resisting the DOJ request:

“Google has shown an ability to be flexible when it’s in their business interests….And I’m hoping the government will show the appropriate flexibility in trying to get what we need without everybody feeling that every time you Google something, the government’s going to be looking over your shoulder.”

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.