By Gautham Nagesh - 07/28/11 04:10 PM EDT
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights announced it will hold a hearing — set for Sept. 21 — at which Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is expected to testify.
Schmidt agreed to testify at the hearing earlier this month after subcommittee Chairman Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and ranking member Mike Lee (R-Utah) expressed a strong preference for him or Google CEO Larry Page to appear to answer direct questions from lawmakers.
The Federal Trade Commission has opened a broad investigation into allegations Google uses its dominance of the Internet-search market to drive traffic to its other services. The search giant argues it strives to provide the most useful results for consumers and points out users can easily opt for other search engines.
Schmidt in particular has drawn criticism for expressing candid views on topics such as privacy: Last year he said Google’s policy was to “get right up to the creepy line and not cross it” and suggested people may soon have to change their names upon adulthood to escape their youthful indiscretions documented on social networks.
But Google has acknowledged the seriousness of the FTC’s probe by hiring a dozen new lobbying firms to express the company’s position on such issues as online privacy and copyright enforcement.