Discussion: Angry Senate Intel Members Left Empty Chair, Tore Into Absent Google CEO During Opening Statements

If this was the UK, “Selling England by the Pound” would be appropriate…

These guys never gave second thought to what what going on as long as the stock price soared…


“From Google Search, which continues to have problems surfacing absurd conspiracies…. To YouTube, where Russian-backed disinformation agents promoted hundreds of divisive videos…. To Gmail, where state-sponsored operatives attempt countless hacking attempts, Google has an immense responsibility in this space,” he said.

What mechanism does the Senator propose to excise content deemed to be, what, wrong for a Google search? Do we create a body of editors to rate the degree to which a conspiracy theory is outlandish? People publish books and stories alleging they've been abducted by aliens. Is that an absurd conspiracy? Would Trump's assertions Obama wasn't an American citizen have been removed from Google, his claims just up in smoke as if he didn't ever make them? One person's disinformation is another person's belief system. WTF, exactly, is being proposed here?

The real problem here is that a significant proportion of humanity isn’t capable of sorting out truthful information from rubbish. In other words, you can’t fix stupid. Actually, you could somewhat by teaching, starting from childhood, how to think independently and recognize propaganda when you see it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t benefit most of the vested interests with the power and money, so it is a tough haul.


I would not have shown up either. The Google letter spells out all that needs to be said for ad buyers being US citizens, publicizing political content sources, etc.

If Google showed up, they would be just one of several witnesses, wasting several days (with travel) so that idiots could rant and rave about fake censorship of Diamond and Silk on You Tube, just like in the House.

Google no show was the right move.

Would a future Google be allowed to produce results if you searched “The resurrection of Jesus”? A human being dies, no oxygen to the brain for days, decomposition occurring. Then they arise, alive, sentient, communicating with others. Would that qualify as an absurd conspiracy in Warner’s book? Should a Google search prevent results on this subject?


The AltaVista CEO has some free time…

1990’s Bill Gates agrees.

Well given that there’s no one there from Google to discuss that kind of practical problem with them, I guess we’ll never know. But they certainly suddenly managed to find a way to accommodate the EU privacy regs once they were hit by a hammer with a sufficiently large number of zeros.


This wasn’t just any committee. This is the Senate Intelligence Committee, the last bastion of vestigial seriousness and the last place where one can hope to find Republicans who distinguish patriotism from partisanship. I don’t trust the Republicans on it to not fall into line in the end, but they are alone in Washington in possibly having Republicans who are serious about breaking the grip of Russian Internet propaganda on their own party.


If the Senate subpoened me and demanded to know the list of answers I gave to friends when they asked “How’s your day?” I’d tell them to piss off, too. It’s a question I might answer in a hundred ways, and demanding I accouint for the veracity of each response is ludicrous. Warner mentioned no concerns about privacy. He expressed interest in Google search results producing absurd conspiracies. Leaving aside his other areas of questioning, how in the hell does he propose policing absurd conspiracies? Tens of millions think climate change is an absurd conspiracy.


They are primarily up in arms about Youtube. The search result thing is the least of it.


Sorry losamingos, a letter NEVER serves the same purpose a face to face appearance serves. Being a Google apologist will not allow cross-examination or cooperation in finding a mutually acceptable solution to what is a major problem for our democratic processes.


Welcome to the Libertarian version of Capitalism. WTF, it’s also the rethug version of Capitalism.

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Sauve qui peut…

Socialize the losses and privatize the gains…

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Who can forget? “In the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff department, here’s what the Republican Party of Texas wrote into its 2012 platform as part of the section on education.”

“Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

Enough said.


A big company that fails to engage the public sector, including and in particular our federal government at the highest levels, is doing itself no favors.

Google’s choice may seem like logical to you based on your perceptions of the questions the Intelligence Committee will likely ask. However, it is a terrible business practice, besides poor citizenship, to avoid meetings like this with elected officials.


If that is an important argument to be made, then Google should have made it publicly, and at the very best forum for them to make that point. Much better than having apologists on political forums make that attempt.


The question isn’t about preventing results, it’s about promoting them.


So we don’t want Google performing the same function as the church? I see.