Google: Transparency for thee but not for me

September 21, 2010

In another Google fit of no-self-awareness, Google has launched a new web tool that they call the “transparency report” in order to promote transparency as “a deterrent to censorship,” per a Google spokeswoman in the NYT’s Bits Blog.

While I applaud the tool and Google’s effort to promote transparency as a deterrent to censorship, the effort appears disingenuous because of Google’s double standard that others must submit to transparency, but not Google.

Google’s tool will have “a map that shows every time a government has asked Google to take down or hand over information, and what percentage of the time Google has complied,” per the NYT.”

If transparency is good:

  • Why doesn’t Google also have a map of every time Google’s human raters change the “quality score’ of a website that has the effect of burying that site’s rank so effectively no one will find them via Google search — a de facto form of anti-competitive “censorship?”
  • Why doesn’t Google list all the times Google denies keywords to those who request them based on Google’s self-censored advertising categories?
  • Why doesn’t Google list all bids for keywords that bid the highest price for the keyword, but effectively get censored because a bigger website offers Google more clicks than the highest bidder did?
  • Why doesn’t Google support transparency about how Google’s entire password system was hacked last December, so that the hundreds of millions of endangered Google users could take measures to safeguard their privacy and security?
  • Why isn’t Google transparent about how it uses other’s private, proprietary and confidential information — without their permission?
  • Why does Google support mandatory transparency of how competitive broadband providers manage their networks, but opposes comparable transparency for its monopoly search fiber network that carries more traffic than all but maybe a couple of the world’s networks?

In sum, if what Google says is true, that:

  • Transparency is a core value at Google. As a company we feel it is our responsibility to ensure that we maximize transparency around the flow of information related to our tools and services. We believe that more information means more choice, more freedom and ultimately more power for the individual…”
  • …why is Google Inc. — the only entity in the world that collects, stores and analyzes all the world’s information, and the self-described “biggest kingmaker on this earth” — not more transparent about how Google Inc. censors information, advertising and competitors?

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: