• Google operates the world's leading Internet search engine.
• Google has catered to government-imposed censorship in China.
• US advertisers allege that Google is taking advantage of them.
• Google's Orkut social networking site has been a major source of controversy and legal problems in Brazil.
• Urge Google to support freedom of speech for users regardless of national politics by and search for businesses with sustainable labor and environmental practices through Go Green.
-- Profile Updated 05/06/2010
With results from more than 8 billion web pages, Google operates the world' s leading Internet search engine.The site has a large international presence; its ranked search results are offered IN more than 35 languages AND it's used by over 380 million around the world. In 2005 the company recorded revenues of over $6.1 billion with 5,680 employees.
Economic Globalization and Human Rights
Amnesty International is calling on the public to urge Google to stop aiding Internet censorship. Google’s CEO claimed that accepting China’s censorship requirements was unavoidable. However, critics claim that Google is contradicting its founding principles, and its own unofficial motto of “Don't be evil.” Prior to Google's deal with the Chinese government, the company's Support Centre stated that it “does not censor results for any search term.” That claim has been removed. Click on the URL below to take action now.
There are no known affiliates associated with Google.
Mountain View, CA 94043 USA
In May of 2010 Google announced that it it had invested $38.8 million in two North Dakota wind farms. They also announced they will be looking for other opportunities to invest in renewable energy.
-- New York Times, 05/04/2010
Ethics and Governance
Google’s social networking site Orkut has been a source of legal disputes in Brazil, where it is so popular that as many as two thirds of internet users use the site. While hundreds of thousands of Brazilians use the site for innocuous fun, other Orkut users use the site for activities like gang organizing, disseminating pornography and pedophilic material, and forming groups advocating homophobia, racism and violence. When a Brazilian prosecutor subpoenaed Google’s Brazilian subsidiary for information about users in an effort to prepare prosecutions, Google refused on the grounds that the information sought by Brazilian prosecutors was stored on servers located in the United States. The location of the servers meant that first, Google is legally bound to protect the privacy of its users except in very specific cases, and second, many of the things the Brazilians were attempting to prosecute —for instance, racism— were not illegal in the United States. Google, which of the major internet companies has the most “hard-line stance on privacy issues,” is concerned that complying with requests for information pertaining to things that are not illegal in the US could set a dangerous precedent. The Washington Post wondered, for instance, what would happen if Google complied with the Brazilian requests and then “Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is a crime, began asking it to unmask gay users.” After the initial controversy, Google began working with Brazilian prosecutors and nonprofit activist groups in an attempt to balance removing offending content and prosecuting lawbreakers without compromising the privacy and trust Google feels are essential to its users.
-- Wall Street Journal, 10/19/2007
The New York City Pension Fund filed a shareholder resolution calling Yahoo! and Google to respect freedom of speech and expression over the internet in repressive countries. The shareholder resolution outlines minimum standards for the companies to institute. Principles include not engaging in pro-active censorship, using all legal means to resist government demands for censorship, and reporting all cases where legally-binding censorship requests have been complied with to the public. The New York City Pension Fund owns nearly $400 million dollars of stock in Yahoo! and Google.
-- New York City Comptroller Office, 12/14/2006
Source URL: www.comptroller.nyc.gov/bottom.asp
According to Global Labor Strategies (GLS), major corporations including Wal-Mart, Google, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, Nike, General Electric, and Intel are “acting through business organizations like the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the US-China Business Council,” to lobby against China’s Draft Labor Contract Law. This new law proposed by the Chinese government aims to secure minimal labor standards for workers, such as enforceable labor contracts, severance pay regulations and negotiating power over workplace procedures and policies. A GLS report entitled: “Behind the Great Wall of China: U.S. Corporations Opposing New Rights for Chinese Workers,” notes that while the law will not eliminate labor problems in China, it is an important step in improving a system where poverty wages, lack of health and safety protections, and the absence of any legal contracts are common for Chinese workers. Organizations representing US companies have threatened to withdraw business from China if such a law is passed.
-- Global Labor Strategies, 10/13/2006
Human Rights Watch’s report entitled “Race to the Bottom: Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship,” documents the ways in which companies such as Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google, and Skype assist and reinforce the Chinese government’s system of political censorship. Human Rights Watch recommends internet companies working with China take measures such as developing and following a code of conduct that prohibits the participation in or facilitation of infringing internationally recognized human rights, never censoring material unless required by legally binding and written government request, and allowing secure communication for websites and emails.
For more information, click on the link below to read HRW’s full report.
-- Human Rights Watch, 08/01/2006
Amnesty International documented the discrepancies between Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google’s policies and their actions in “Undermining Freedom of Expression in China.” Amnesty noted that Google’s statements in support of the “democratization of information” had been compromised in China. Searches on google.cn are filtered by a firewall, censoring results on politically sensitive terms. Google stated that the firewall was in response to local laws, regulations, and policies in China. Amnesty is calling on companies to judicially contest government requests with human rights implications, as well as for corporate transparency on web filtering and agreements.
-- Amnesty International, 07/20/2006
The European Parliament passed a resolution that criticizes internet sector companies which cooperate with repressive regimes. Parliamentarians are calling for a code of conduct to limit western businesses that contribute to censoring the internet in repressive countries. The resolution singles out Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft, and Cisco Systems are allowing Chinese authorities to censor their search engines and blog software in China.
-- European Parliament, 07/06/2006
Source URL: none available
Reporters Without Borders recently performed a series of censorship tests on Chinese versions of internet search engines on Yahoo!, Google, and MSN. Reporters Without Borders found that when searching a “subversive” key word, such as “democracy” and “human rights,” on google.cn produced on average 83 percent of pro-Beijing websites. If one performed the same search on google.com, only 28 percent of the results were pro-Beijing. Reporters Without Borders found that though Google does not appear to filter content by blocking keywords, these search engines refused to include sites considered illegal by the Chinese authorities.
-- Reporters Without Borders, 06/22/2006
Source URL: www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=18015
An Arkansas judge approved a preliminary settlement of $90 million dollars between Google and dissatisfied advertisers. The settlement was based on claims that Google overcharged for ads and that advertisers were billed for false customer leads. Google was ordered to pay as much as $60 million in future advertising credits, and to make $30 million available to cover lawyers fees for plaintiffs in the case.
-- The Scotsman, 04/22/2006
Source URL: none available
Google has chosen to comply with China's demand for the restriction of search results, in order to omit references to controversial subjects including Tibet, Taiwan, Falun Gong, and the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. The Chinese government previously limited Internet users' access to such topics by placing its own filter on Google's main search page. However, the government filter caused searches to slow down significantly. Critics argue that in exchange for aiding in the Chinese government's censorship campaigns Google has a convenient, government-approved product and has secured itself a place in the 111 million strong China market.
-- Ottawa Citizen, 01/28/2006
Source URL: none available