MPs summon Google CEO to Ottawa for blocking news access for some Canadians

By The Canadian Press

The CEO of Google and other top executives are being summoned to appear before a parliamentary committee over the tech company’s move to temporarily block some Canadians from accessing news through its search engine.

They are expected to testify at a meeting of the House of Commons heritage committee on Monday over Google’s choice to temporary limit news to some Canadians, in which the company says is a short-lived test in response to the Liberal government’s proposed Online News Act.

Bill C-18 would require digital giants such as Google to negotiate deals that would compensate Canadian media companies for linking to or otherwise repurposing their content online.

The committee is also requesting documents related to the decision by Google, which confirmed to The Canadian Press last week it is limiting access to news on its search engine to less than four per cent of its users in Canada.

The summons applies to CEO Sundar Pichai, as well as Kent Walker, president of global affairs, Richard Gingras, vice-president of news, and Sabrina Geremia, vice president and country manager for Google in Canada.

The House of Commons doesn’t have the power to summon individuals who live outside of Canada, but members of Parliament who serve on the committee want to take the chance.

Should the four individuals not show up, the House of Commons can enforce the summons if they ever step foot in Canada.

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