Les mortels sont égaux; ce n’est pas la naissance,
C’est la seule vertu qui fait la différence.

All men are equal; it is not their birth,
But virtue itself that makes the difference.

Voltaire


I am very glad about the impact my rebuttal of Google’s The New Digital Age (2013) had, via Dissident Voice and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. In the essay, I explained how WikiLeaks’ value system is superior to Google, and we should give serious attention to Julian Assange’s criticisms of Google. These criticisms can be read in When Google Met WikiLeaks (2014), which I recommend to all readers who are unaware of the clash of values between Google and WikiLeaks.

In view of how important the struggle against corrupt corporate-government collaboration is, I intend to write a lot more on the subject and try to offer my views on what I think people should do about the injustices addressed.

I would like to take this opportunity to add another urgent point that I have not yet made.

I believe boycotting Google is difficult, due to the company’s leading role in providing Internet search and email services. Instead, I believe pressure should be placed on Google to actually change the company itself. The methods I recommend are:

  • Whistleblowing (insiders should expose the corporation’s cooperation with regime agencies in various countries)
  • shame campaign targeting Google’s behavior and exposing its shallow propaganda (I am doing my own part in that)
  • Tactics of persuasion and pressure aiming to convince people in the company to resign and work for other, more ethical companies instead

Because Google is essentially equivalent to the US National Security Agency (NSA), in its criminal obsession with acquiring as much data as possible on every individual, and is guilty of joining forces with the United States government and sharing its foreign policy objectives, I believe all public-minded Google employees should resign or take other action against the corporation for its cold betrayal of the Internet.

In essence, we need a Snowden of Google: someone who can denounce Google’s relationship with the United States government from an insider’s perspective. Although I do not know any Google employees at the moment, and so I cannot recommend any individual, I believe such a person exists, because Google has often projected a very libertarian image of itself. Surely, given the manner in which Google endeavors to be “different”, as in more consumer-oriented and popular, must have attracted a fair number of people who disagree with its cold-hearted collaboration with the United States government.

It is my wish to urge any such rebellious employees to take personal action against their employer, perhaps by leaking further details on its violations of the rights of users and its cooperation with authoritarian regimes like the United States government. Google’s betrayal of the Internet and servitude to the US government mean it is in the public interest to damage Google, and the people most positioned to damage Google are its own employees. Any form of vandalism, disclosures, or public acts of protest such as resignations, would help to pressure Google and make it realize there is a price to pay for betraying the public.

I do not expect people to take action based on my plea alone, but it serves to prove there is a way to confront Google over what it has done, and transparency advocates must broaden their targets beyond governments to take on corporations like Google.

RE: comments: I am not merely paraphrasing Julian Assange in this post, nor is the above intended as a definitive critique of Google. If you think you can refute my critique of Google, please go to my full critique of The New Digital Age (2013) available at DV, IEET, and ClubOfINFO instead of focusing your energy on this single post.


By Harry J. Bentham

lordre.net

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