December 11th, 2007 | Published in Google Public Policy
Though Senator Chris Dodd may not be attracting the same crowds as other presidential candidates, he has made his mark on the campaign trail with voters like myself who consider the protection of civil liberties to be a critical election issue. Dodd’s visit to the Googleplex Monday focused on this topic, and it did not disappoint. He didn’t pull any punches, even when that meant offering some candid criticism of Google.
Dodd’s speech centered on his outspoken opposition to retroactive immunity for telephone companies who allegedly assisted President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program. He has taken to the Web to make his case against letting the companies off the hook, including through this YouTube video with whistleblower Mark Klein, the retired AT&T technician who uncovered “a switch [at AT&T’s facilities] that channeled Internet traffic culled from millions of living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and offices across the nation to a secret room operated by the NSA.” Many lawsuits have been brought against AT&T and other carriers to stop this alleged cooperation with government surveillance of Americans, but immunity could stop these cases in their tracks.
While pledging to uphold Americans' constitutional liberties if elected president, Dodd also impressed upon Googlers that it is our responsibility to protect these sacred liberties as well. As he put it, Google's commitment to the free flow of information and powerful, speech-enabling technology provides the foundation for "a transformative power both vast and unprecedented - the capability to not only transform society but the very notion of society. Of community. Of democracy." At the same time, he challenged Google to do more to defend free expression and privacy both in the U.S. and abroad, directly questioning our decision to operate in Internet-restricting countries like China.
In Q&A with our General Counsel Kent Walker and audience members, Dodd canvassed a range of other issues, including net neutrality, energy policy and immigration.
View the whole video here:
And his interview with YouTube's Steve Grove:
Dodd was the eighth presidential candidate to stop by Google, and you can view videos of visits by Barack Obama, Ron Paul, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Bill Richardson, John Edwards, and Mike Gravel.