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Google's ranked the LEAST ACCOUNTABLE in One World Trust's 2007 Global Accountability Report

What may be the most troublesome aspect of Google's extraordinary ascent to power in the marketplace and in our society is Google's exceptional lack of accountability.

On what basis can I say Google has "exceptional lack of accountability"?

  • First, the independent One World Trust just released its 2007 Global Accountability report in which it ranked Google lowest in its world survey of leading institutions when it comes to accountability.
    • "The Report applies the Global Accountability Framework’s four dimensions of accountability – transparency, participation, evaluation, and complaint and response – to examine the capabilities of transnational actors to be accountable."
    •  Why Does Global Accountabilty Matter?" "...their decisions and actions can have a profound affect on people’s daily lives."
    • "Those at the bottom... need to raise their game."

      • Google scored the lowest in the survey on accountability, a "17" out of 100, when the high score was "88" out of 100.

    • On Google and other low scorers: "These organisations need to learn from their peers..."

Second, I independently struck a very similar accountability theme about Google in my Senate Judiciary Subcommittee testimony on the Google-Double-Click deal.

  • "The political stakes -- no checks and balances: This merger should also give pause because every politician understands that “information is power”, and Google openly aspires to be the world’s most powerful information broker. Listen to Google’s own uniquely monopolistic public vision in its well-known mission statement: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”"
  • "No other entity currently has such a naked ambition to control or effectively corner the market for any of the world’s commodities, let alone all “the world’s information” (public and private), while also having the wherewithal (infrastructure, technology, capacity, expertise, and acquisitions) to accomplish the task."
  • "As a nation founded and grounded on the principles of separation of powers, checks and balances, a free press, and free speech, it is troubling that one company is dedicated to, and well on path, to quickly achieving business model dominance over access to “the world’s information.”"...
  • "With virtually no transparency or accountability, who knows what Google’s real and inherent algorithmic biases are?"

To anyone who believes there is an ounce of truth in the well-known saying: "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely," Google's exceptional power over the digital access to the world's information -- combined with its exceptional lack of accountability -- should create serious concern.

  • For those who think that public shareholders could exercise some accountability... remember that in the Google Initial Public Offering (IPO), Google's founding owners only gave public shareholders one tenth voting rights per share -- ensuring that public shareholders could not constrain Google's founders in any material way...

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