Is Google on our side? Or is Google secretly surveilling us and reporting our behaviors and want to the government?
The most powerful
and protean of these Internet gatekeepers is, of course, Google. With
control of 63 percent of the world’s Internet searches, as well as
ownership of YouTube, Google has enormous influence over who can find
an audience on the Web around the world. As an acknowledgment of its
power, Google has given Nicole Wong a central role in the company’s
decision-making process about what controversial user-generated content
goes down or stays up on YouTube and other applications owned by
Google, including Blogger, the blog site; Picasa, the photo-sharing
site; and Orkut, the social networking site.
Wong and her colleagues
also oversee Google’s search engine: they decide what controversial
material does and doesn’t appear on the local search engines that
Google maintains in many countries in the world, as well as on
Google.com. As a result, Wong and her colleagues arguably have more
influence over the contours of online expression than anyone else on
Why is Google our gatekeeper? Is Google too powerfully panopticonic for our own good?