When it comes to standing up for public privacy rights, Google goes to bat. That’s a good thing.
Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to feel as strongly about piracy, and the rights of creators to pick and choose who can use their work.
It’s a point highlighted by Britain’s Guardian newspaper this week, in the wake of a European court ruling that its citizens must have the right to have Google remove pages that breach their personal privacy.
Google’s Poor Track Record on Piracy
We reported on the 100 million takedown request milestone that Google sheepishly pushed past earlier this year. Compared with the rapid action the company has taken on European privacy rights, the earlier figure and the lack of action that it represents is even more astonishing.
And it’s not only privacy where Google flexes its significant muscle to disrupt illicit operations.
Since becoming the world’s most popular search engine, accounting for roughly 70% of North American searches and as much as 90% of those in Europe, the company has worked tirelessly to upgrade its algorithm to destroy low quality sites that aim to game Google’s system.
Those sites, it says, devalue its search product and leave users frustrated from a sub par experience. Sounds a lot like poor quality piracy sites that are riddled with malware, doesn’t it? So those sites should really receive similar punishment in the form of demotion or even being stripped from Google’s results. Instead, the company maintains a double standard that now stretches back more than a decade.
Or, as the CEO of the British Phonographic Industry (the country’s equivalent of our RIAA) sums it up:
“When you know someone is acting illegally, you shouldn’t continue helping them by sending them business.”
Why Won’t Google Make a Moonshot for Creative Rights?
Google is now the world’s most valuable brand.
With all of the resources available to the technology giant and its many laudable “moonshot” projects, it’s now baffling that the company would so nonchalantly drag its heels when it comes to anti-piracy measures.
It has taken intervention by a European court to force the company’s hand in better serving public privacy. Perhaps it will take the same type of shove from U.S. lawmakers to ensure that Google finally pulls its weight when it comes to protecting creative rights.