When two public hearings were held in Caldwell County, N.C., to discuss giving Google Inc. 30 years of tax breaks, elected officials couldn’t even say the Internet giant’s name.

More than 70 public officials, business leaders and others signed restrictive confidentiality agreements barring them from publicly discussing the plan to build a $600 million data center near Lenoir, N.C., and create 210 jobs by 2012.