Google’s Global Anti-Privacy Push: An Investigative Report
Google’s public stance appears to be in favor of protecting user privacy, with its CEO taking to Twitter to claim that user privacy forms the essence of Google’s operations. However, our research unveils a different reality behind closed doors; Google’s aggressive lobbying against privacy laws intended to shield consumers from intrusive online tracking.
Google’s Not So Private Policy
Google employs extensive lobbying efforts worldwide to deter policymakers from implementing laws to safeguard your data. We have discovered multiple instances of Google’s active resistance against these privacy laws, efforts that extend from the U.S to Europe and beyond. Interestingly, this public image manipulation resembles the strategy deployed by significant environmental polluters through ‘greenwashing.’
Breaking Down Google’s Hypocrisy
Google invests heavily in influencing policymakers. Records indicate Alphabet and its subsidiaries have poured over $125 million into lobbying efforts and campaign donations since 2019. While Google appears concerned about privacy issues, it seems more focused on hindering data protection, rather than promoting it.
Google’s policy statement suggests they believe that forcing individuals to oversee data processing can lead to needless complexities. However, true privacy implies if a company’s data handling procedures are excessively complex for user comprehension, they should not have access to your data.
Google’s Privacy Intrusions in the U.S
Google’s efforts became evident when, in 2018, California introduced the U.S’s first online privacy law. Google, along with other tech giants, has reportedly made countless attempts to dilute these laws by forcing their agendas through lobbying activities. According to various reports, Google and others’ concentrated lobbying campaigns have resulted in the passage of 15 weakened state privacy laws.
Lobbying Against European Regulations
In Europe’s case, the enactment of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has fueled tech giants’ lobbying efforts. Records suggest that tech companies, with Google at the helm, invested approximately $30 million in 2021 for lobbying European lawmakers. Google reportedly took credit for stalling the ePrivacy Regulation, further supporting the narrative of its anti-privacy practices.
Skirting Governance by Inciting Legislation
Google’s influence over policymakers is not just confined to the U.S and Europe. Evidently, Google employs a strategic approach to circumvent future legislations, as seen in trade deal negotiations involving 14 Pacific Ocean countries.
Google’s Privacy Washing and Your Privacy
Regardless of Google’s repeated privacy affirmations, their intentions seem far from privacy-focused. As the analysis of their lobbying activities revealed, Google’s assertions merely serve as a method of ‘privacy washing.’
Shockingly, Google’s business model, which heavily pivoted around privacy intrusion, amassed the company nearly $60 billion in profits in 2022. Notably, consumers have the power to control their online data and counteract Google’s business model. Opting for platforms that prioritize privacy over profits can effectively safeguard your online privacy.
Consequently, with email being the nexus of our digital identities, switching from Gmail is the initial step towards regaining control of your data. Zero Trace devices give you access to privacy focused e-mail clients like Thunderbird and K-9 Mail. Issues like privacy washing will continue to pose a threat until privacy and freedom become the default setting of the internet.