First-year senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) sent a public letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai last week, asking him to explain the company's work in China to the public. The letter followed Pichai's week, filled with meetings in DC, on comments made by the leaders of the United States defense in March.
During a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee in March, General Joseph Dunford argued that Google's current work in China "indirectly benefits the Chinese army." . "The comments alarmed the legislators and on Wednesday, Pichai met with President Donald Trump and Dunford in what appeared to be an attempt to reduce the tension.
Hawley asked the initial question that spurred the debate and, after noting the Google meeting, is now asking the company to publicly address its focus on China.
"According to reports," Hawley writes, "the work that Google is doing with China not only includes the development of artificial intelligence technology that could possibly be used by Chinese military and intelligence services to exploit privacy and data from Americans, but also introduction of platforms that promote a value system and modes of behavior fundamentally at odds with ours. "
Hawley has been described as one of the most aggressive lawmakers on the right in relation to Big Tech As Missouri Attorney General, Hawley opens an investigation into Google for antitrust violations that investigation is still ongoing and also worked on legislation with Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) to amend the Online Privacy Protection Act of children to increase protection of the privacy of some children.
"I understand that today you have met with the General Dunford and the President of the United States to address these concerns, "Hawley wrote. "Now, meet with the American people by publicly addressing the work your company is doing in China, the benefits it can provide to the government and the Chinese military, and your reluctance to associate with or assist the Armed Forces of the United States."