As Google CEO Sundar Pichai was being grilled by the US Congress' lawmakers over a hearing titled 'Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use, and Filtering Practices', a man with a white moustache grabbed the limelight. As photos and videos of the mystery man went viral, Twitterati dubbed him 'Monopoly Man' for his resemblance to the fictional character, Rich Uncle Pennybags, the mascot of the game Monopoly.
The 'Monopoly Man' who sat behind Pichai at the hearing before the House Judiciary Committee at Capitol Hill is activist Ian Madrigal. He describes himself as 'lawyer, activist and professional troublemaker'. The 'Monopoly Man' first made his debut at the Equifax data breach hearing last year where he was sitting directly behind then-Equifax CEO Richard Smith. And Twitter couldn't be more happy on seeing him in similar avatar sitting behind Pichai. I Was Born in the Same State as You in India: Congresswoman Jayapal Tells Google CEO.
Madrigal, who uses gender-neutral pronouns reportedly said that their presence as Rich Uncle Pennybags is to garner attention to Google's lobbying efforts and to showcase its access to consumer data. Pichai was also questioned why the Google search result for 'Idiot' shows US President Donald Trump.
Check out what Twitterati has to say:
— Curly Hilton (@CurlyHilton) December 11, 2018
He truly knows how to garner attention
— Tyler J. Hora (@irun5k) December 11, 2018
A billion dollar expression
— Margaret Lozano (@margaretlozano) December 11, 2018
That escalated quite quickly!
— Matt Arnold (@mattarnoldxvii) December 11, 2018
When dollars do the talking
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) December 11, 2018
Madrigal was quoted as saying, "Google spent $18 million lobbying politicians in 2017 — more than any other company. In return, Congress has abandoned its oversight role and allowed Google to wield monopoly power over every person who uses the internet. We have no say in how Google uses even our most personal data, and the only way to opt out is to boycott the internet itself. We can't rely on tech giants to self-regulate. It is past time for Congress to step in and do its job."
Both Democrat and Republican House Representatives questioned Pichai on various Google's practices including their privacy, potential bias in filtering, transparency and the company's controversial and secretive censored search engine project in China called 'Dragonfly'.