Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Google Politik?

According to a UK Guardian report yesterday, Google has formed the political action committee "NetPAC" and has loaded up with prominant Democrats to direct its liberal agenda:

Google has an impressive list of players on its team. As well as counting Al Gore among its senior advisers, Google's Washington office was set up about a year and a half ago by Alan Davidson. A well-known Democrat sympathiser, he served for eight years as associate director of the Centre for Democracy and Technology, a thinktank that opposes government and industry control of the web. Alongside him is Robert Boorstin, a former Clinton foreign policy aide from the Centre for American Progress, as Google's communications chief in the capital.

From corporate spending on self-described "one-upmanship" executive toys to questionable acquisitions that establish significant goodwill on the balance sheet such as the recent YouTube purchase, Google appears to be ripe for a dot-com magnitude correction. While ad revenues may be propping up the beast, executive decision-making and ethics appear to be nonexistent.

So what drives Google's executive philosophy? "Do no evil" is the often referenced founding principle. Unfortunately, such vague objectives leave considerable room for interpretation, relativism and activism. Yet true principled behavior is somehow lacking in recent decisions, including serious misteps on the support of Chinese government surveillance efforts using Google data, Chinese censorship efforts, destruction of the objective value of GoogleNews by excluding conservative viewpoints Google employees disagree with and now the formation of a liberal PAC to further attack half of their customer base. The Google definition of evil appears to be seriously modified to reflect corporate gain at the expense of ethics and objectivity.

Certainly Google has quite an unusual approach to its fiduciary caretaking responsibility.

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