I’ve written before about Google’s growing foray into public affairs, necessitated by its global dominance in search. The intersection between search, free speech and appeasing differing laws around the world is becoming a colossal task for Google to balance its mission of making information accessible and protecting speech, while not alienating governments who have the power to restrict national I.P. addresses from using Google if it feels that the internet giant violates its national laws or sensibilities.
The New York Times has a great piece that is a must-read for anyone following following public affairs and technology. Google, I would argue, more than any other company, has the greatest public affairs challenges on a global scale. Their interactions between satisfying users and governments are vital to information availability and the globalized community.
Professor and guest columnist Jeffrey Rosen profiles the issues and the people behind this area of Google’s public affairs challenges: Niclole Wang, Andrew McLaughlin and Kent Walker.
I’ll leave you with this exerpt:
Voluntary self-regulation means that, for the foreseeable future, Wong and her colleagues will continue to exercise extraordinary power over global speech online. Which raises a perennial but increasingly urgent question: Can we trust a corporation to be good — even a corporation whose informal motto is “Don’t be evil”?
“To love Google, you have to be a little bit of a monarchist, you have to have faith in the way people traditionally felt about the king,” Tim Wu, a Columbia law professor and a former scholar in residence at Google, told me recently. “One reason they’re good at the moment is they live and die on trust, and as soon as you lose trust in Google, it’s over for them.” Google’s claim on our trust is a fragile thing. After all, it’s hard to be a company whose mission is to give people all the information they want and to insist at the same time on deciding what information they get.