Twice in two days, Google has been shown to be deceptive about matters of public concern, first concerning a security vulnerability and then about the development of a censored search engined for China.
The incidents are part of a pattern of behavior by the company where it’s been repeatedly secretive, unaccountable, and untrustworthy.
The behavior is worrisome and dangerous because of Google’s immense power.
Maybe we should have paid closer attention when Google dropped its famous “don’t be evil” motto.
The company that has long presented itself as the kinder, gentler, and more ethical tech company has been anything but that lately. Instead, the search giant is looking increasingly like an organization that is striving to do the opposite of its revised motto — “do the right thing.”
The latest examples came this week. On Monday, news broke of a bug in the company’s Google+ social network that affected an estimated 500,000 people and exposed information that users intended to keep private. Although Google had known about the bug since March, it decided to keep the vulnerability to itself, in part, the Wall Street Journal reported, because it didn’t want to raise the ire of regulators.
Then on Tuesday, The Intercept published a transcript of a private meeting between Ben Gomes, who heads up Google’s search engine, and a team of company employees in July. Gomes was discussing Google’s effort to develop a censored search engine for China, a product that company officials have repeatedly said is just an idea being explored, with no plans for an imminent launch.
But the transcript makes clear that the company hasn’t been honest about Dragonfly, the code name for its Chinese search engine effort. Google, according to Gomes remarks, plans to launch the search engine as soon as it can get approval from Chinese officials, possibly as soon as early next year.
The latest incidents are part of a pattern of behavior
Google’s decision to hide the security vulnerability and its duplicity about Dragonfly are part of an emerging pattern of behavior from the company. The company and top officials have shown repeatedly recently that they don’t feel like they are accountable to anyone and shouldn’t be trusted.
Take Dragonfly as an example. The company generated a lot of controversy when it previously operated a search engine in the country, and it made a big public show about standing up for free speech and human rights when it closed that service in 2010.
With the United States and China increasingly at odds over trade, theft of intellectual property, and other matters, any effort to re-launch a Chinese search service would likely be even more controversial today. Regardless, such an effort would be a matter of wide interest — to company employees, shareholders, policy makers, and the public at large — and ought to be subject to broad public discussion.
But the company launched and developed its Dragonfly project in secret — not only from the public, but from all but a tiny portion of its workforce — …read more
Source:: Business Insider – Finance