John Battelle has listed an exhaustive list of questions that a House Representative is asking Google to answer. This representative is "the senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has Internet regulation as one of its responsibilities." I won't list all of the questions (see Mr. Battelle's post for that), but here's an example (after asking a bunch of privacy-related questions about the data Google obtains:
2. Please explain how Google uses the information or data described in Question 1(a) - (l), including, but not limited to, the following uses: perfecting Google's search algorithm; operating Google's advertising programs such as AdWords and AdSense; and research or analysis of user activity on www.google.com.
Mr. Battelle says he is eager to see what response Google will give. I believe that response will be something along the lines of "We're sorry, but we cannot divulge that information because it would be tantamount to giving away our secret sauce". I don't know how much legal authority a House representative has to force Google to answer any of these questions. I'm not well-versed in politics or legal matters. But I'd be willing to bet that Google will do everything in its power to NOT answer most or all of those questions. I'd also be willing to bet that they will prevail and will NOT have to answer them.
What do you think? Can they be forced to answer them? Will they answer them of their own volition? Should they?
UPDATE ON 12/22 - Google answered with a 19-page pdf! Read it for yourself. 🙂