Why are Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Page Afraid of Congress?
No CEO ever likes to testify before Congress, but Google's CEOs, past (Eric Schmidt) and present (founder Larry Page), are going so far out of their way to avoid testifying in Congress that they are begging for a subpoena.
Bloomberg is reporting that, "In a letter dated June 10, the Democratic chairman and leading Republican on the antitrust subcommittee asked Google to provide one of the company’s two senior executives before Congress’ August recess. The letter urged a resolution 'by agreement' to avoid 'more formal procedures.'
"The threat of subpoenas is one of a number of ways the committee pressure Mountain View, California-based Google to send Page or Schmidt, according to two people familiar with negotiations between the panel and the company. The possibility of subpoenas was discussed with Google in connection with the letter, the people said. Google still hasn’t formally responded to the request, which had a deadline of June 15, they said."
It's ironic that a company whose mission is to open information to the world would dodge an opportunity for openness and transparency with the American people and their Congress.
Senator Herb Kohl wants Google to answer anti-trust questions about Google's dominance in the search engine market, but Google has a lot to answer for on other accounts. For three years, Google street view cars collected wireless data from tens of millions of homes in 30 nations. It was the largest wire-tapping scandal in world history.
Consumer Watchdog has pushed hard since 2010 for Mr. Schmidt to testify before Congress. We created a satirical animated video, "Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington," using Schmidt's real quotes to create mock testimony and drove it around Washington on a moving billboard to get policymakers' attention.
It's time that Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Page face Congress on serious questions about how the company uses its market dominance to steer search results to its affiliated businesses and its intentions about online privacy. A company that prides itself on openness and transparency should practice those values with Congress and the American people. It looks like it will take subpoenas to get that type of cooperation from Google's executives. We are now one step closer to seeing the first of many subpoenas fly at Mountain View.
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