Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was the only tech executive at Wednesday’s antitrust hearing who unequivocally said China is stealing technology from American companies.
“I think it’s well documented that the Chinese government steals technology from American companies,” the 36-year-old Silicon Valley executive said after Rep. Greg Steube asked him if China is stealing from U.S. technology companies. The Florida Republican posed the same question to CEOs Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, and Sundar Pichai of Google.
Steube is one of the lawmakers on the House Judiciary’s subcommittee on antitrust who grilled the tech executives about the size and scope of their Silicon Valley empires.
“I don’t know of specific cases where we have been stolen from by the government,” Cook said in response and when Steube asked him the same question. Bezos and Pichai provided similar answers, with the Apple CEO telling lawmakers that he has “no first-hand knowledge of any information stolen from Google.”
Apple admitted in 2017 to removing hundreds of virtual private network apps from its app store in China. The apps allowed users to avoid the country’s censors, CNBC reported in 2017. The company built a data center in 2018 in China to comply with Beijing’s cybersecurity laws, which give the country the ability to seize data on political dissidents, Reuters reported in 2018.
Google sought to launch a plan in 2018 to create a censorship-compliant search engine in China, The Intercept reported in 2018. The search engine — codenamed Project Dragonfly — would blacklist sensitive queries preventing people from searching certain terms in China. The project ended in December 2018 after employees complained.
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