“The Chinese search engine is likely to come up,” said Mike Godwin, a fellow with theR Street Institute, a Washington think tank. He cited recent reports thatGoogle shut out some of its own privacy experts from this effort —“trying to sort of do an end run around their own internal culture” —as reason to ask what Google’s former “Don’t be evil” motto ever met.

The existence of this so-called Project Dragonfly censored search, Godwin added, also invites hostile questions about how Google’s news search runs: “Google in effect has demonstrated that it can skew results.”

We should also hope that committee members take time to grill Google about its response to theGoogle+ data breach and the consequences it’s observed of complying with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

But this hearing will probably wind up demonstrating once again the gulf between a tech industry that prides itself on being data-driven and elected officials who have to respond to a fair amount of confusion and anxiety among citizens whom the tech industry prefers to call “users.”

Or as Godwin put it: “The fact is, members of Congress don’t like statistics. They like stories.”

Featured Publications