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Google's Culture of Unaccountability: In their Own Words -- (Google Unaccountability Series: Part II)

We learn about Google's culture-of-unaccountability from Google itself. Google's leaders have repeatedly indicated their hostility to accountability of most any type.

Listen to Google's own words to learn about their unique and unabashed corporate culture-of-unaccountability.

"New investors will fully share in Google's long-term economic future but will have little ability to influence its strategic decisions through their voting rights." Google's 2004 IPO letter to prospective shareholders from co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

"Don't be evil. ...This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company." Google's corporate credo per Larry Page and Sergey Brin in Google's 2004 Founders IPO letter.

"Evil is whatever Sergey says is evil" Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, per Wired, 4-21-05.

"There is what I call the creepy line. The Google policy on a lot of things is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it." Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, 10-1-10, per New York Magazine.

When were we ever wrong?" Google CEO Larry Page asked Douglas Edwards Google brand manager, recounted in Edwards’ book: “I’m Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59." 7-27-11 quoted in The Telegraph.

"Google's leadership does not care much about precedent or law."An admission by a top Google lawyer in Stephen Levy’s book In The Plex, 4-11.

If we could wave a magic wand and not be subject to US law, that would be great;” said Google Co-founder Sergey Brin to The Guardian, 4-15-12,

"Because we say so." Google Chairman Eric Schmidt responding to Neil Cavuto's question: "How do we know you have deleted our information" when we request it be deleted? per Fox News 11-6-09.

"Google is melding a positive office culture with minimal accountability controls." The company's goal is "to think big and inspire a culture of yes" Google Chairman Eric Schmidt before the Economic Club in Washington, per Washington Internet Daily 6-10-08.

"Google has a “healthy disrespect for the impossible.” Vic Gundotra, Google Sr. VP Social, per the FT, 6-28-12

Sergey and Larry almost always decided to take the risk. They were pretty fearless.” Doug Edwards author of “I’m Feeling Lucky: Confessions of Google Employee Number 59. 7-27-11 quoted in The Telegraph.

"We try not to have too many controls." "People will do things that they think are in the interests of the company. We want them to understand the values of the firm, and interpret them for themselves." Nikesh Aurora, Head of Google European Operations, to the FT, 9-21-07

People don’t want to be managed” Google CEO Larry Page in Stephen Levy’s book In the Plex, 4-11.

The word ‘control’ is not such a strong word at Google.” Google Chairman Eric Schmidt responding to a question about how he controls such a vast company as Google is, from The Telegraph, 7-1-10.

Launch first, correct later” Google Chairman Eric Schmidt in explaining that rapid release of Google products is part of Google's ultra-creative DNA, 6-3-10, per the FT.

No harm, no foul.” Google CEO Schmidt on Google’s unauthorized collection of private WiSpy payload data, 5-18,10, per BBC News.

"...It's important to distinguish between "worry versus harm" when it came to privacy online." said Larry Page per BBC News, 5-18-10.

At Google, we give the impression of not managing the company because we don’t really. It sort of has its own borg-like quality if you will. It sort of just moves forward.” Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, to Gigaom, 5-2-11.

Whack-a-mole is our life” Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, in response to the FT's question of "how Google is coping with the constant eruption of controversy over its handling of privacy, copyright and other tricky public policy issues." 6-3-10, per the FT.

"One day Larry and Sergey bought Android, and I didn’t even notice." then Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt about not being aware of what the co-founders were buying when Google was a public company and he was its supposed CEO, 10-7-09, per All Things Digital,

"Sergey found Google Earth one day while he was surfing on the Web. And then he walked into my office and told me he bought them. “And I said, “for how much,” Sergey?” then Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt about not being aware of what the co-founders were buying when he was the supposed CEO of Google; 10-7-09, per All Things Digital.

"There are many, many things that Google could do, that we choose not to do." "One day we had a conversation where we figured out we could just try to predict the stock market, and then we decided it would be illegal. So we stopped doing that." Google Chairman Eric Schmidt per Fortune, 3-11-10.

We worked in good faith to answer the F.C.C.’s questions throughout the inquiry, and we’re pleased that they have concluded that we complied with the law.” Google spokesperson’s response to announcement of a $25,000 FCC fine for “deliberately impeding and delaying” the FCC’s investigation of whether or not Google broke wiretapping laws in the Google WiSpy Affair. Quoted in the New York Times, 4-15-12

"It's every man for himself… In the end, it seems every machine has to defend itself. The internet was designed that way." Vint Cerf, Google Internet Evangelist and co-father of the Internet, when asked about how to address abuse on the Internet, by the Guardian, 9-30-08.

"Google is the biggest Kingmaker on this earth." Amit Singhal, per the Telegraph, 6-17-10

"We won't (and shouldn't) try to stop the faceless scribes of drivel, but we can move them to the back row of the arena." Jonathan Rosenberg, Google Sr. VP., in a GoogleBlog post, 2-16-09

I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.” Google Chairman Eric Schmidt,8-14-10 per the WSJ.

Google CEO Larry “Page answered "I don't recall" to so many of Boies' questions that business news channel CNBC summed up his testimony with the headline 'Blank Page?'” LA Times coverage of Google CEO Larry Page’s testimony under oath in the Oracle vs. Google infringement trial; 4-9-12

"Has Google looked at the appropriateness of indexing WikiLeaks? The answer is yes, and we decided to continue…" "Because it's legal." Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt, 1-25-11, per Reuters.

Clearly there was a process breakdown.” Jill Hazelbaker, a spokeswoman for Google, said the failure by multiple engineers to review the project was “a mistake,” on the Street View WiSpy Affair, 6-12-12, per the NYT.

One of the interesting things about that Internet is that even people who have monopoly power – governments that are not democratic – are sensitive to shame. They’re sensitive to embarrassment. And you can use shame and embarrassment to hold these organizations to some level of accountability.” Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt, at Big Tent UK event per Forbes, 5-24-12


Google's unique and unabashed corporate culture of unaccountability makes Google the most undeterred corporate recidivist that global law enforcement faces in the marketplace today.

Law enforcement's apparent pattern of not prosecuting, but always settling with Google: first allows Google to accept no responsibility/liability for its actions and not suffer any consequences in the marketplace of any deterrent value; and second reinforces Google's culture of unaccountability. This is an invitation for Google recidivism.

Law enforcement's apparent appeasement of Google's serial law breaking with weak settlements and no court fights is viewed by Google as weakness and a green light to keep on doing whatever they want without regard to the law or law enforcement. Forewarned is forearmed.


Google Unaccountability Series:

Part I: Why FTC's $22.5m Privacy Fine is Faux Accountability.