Google CEO: 'We can do better' on explaining privacy controls to users

CNET | 12/11/2018 | Laura Hautala
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Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies before Congress on Tuesday.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai faced a lot of questions about user privacy as he testified to the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Among them was a straightforward request: Can you make your products easier for users to understand?

Question - Rep - Darrell - Issa - California

The question came from Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican from California, who said that even though Google offers a privacy dashboard where users can tailor their settings, it's not always obvious how to use it.

Issa asked Pichai if he could commit "to improve the dashboard, the transparency and the tools available to teach people how to protect their privacy, how to offload data, how to in fact turn off things they might not want to have."


Pichai said yes. "I do think we can do better," he said. "We want to simplify it."

The back-and-forth came after members of Congress had pressed Pichai on a number of privacy concerns. Among them were Google's collection of user location data, the software flaws that exposed information from millions of accounts of Google+ users and the question of privacy regulations. The questioning showed that lawmakers are mulling privacy concerns about Google and other tech companies at a time when the public is increasingly aware of privacy issues and legislators are considering regulations.

Pichai - Google - Regulations - Privacy - Company

Pichai said Google supports federal regulations on privacy, doubling down on his company's previous calls for a national framework instead of a state-by-state approach. In September, Google released its proposal for federal privacy regulations. The proposal came after California implemented a privacy law in June that's the toughest in the country.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California, in a district that includes Google's future headquarters in San Jose, asked Pichai about location data....
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