Recently, a think tank sponsored by Google has said that Google is the leading technology company when it comes to maintaining the privacy of its users. The think tank is chaired by Eric Schmidt, and it awarded Alphabet Inc. an award for protecting digital rights. Alphabet is the owner of Google, and Eric Schmidt serves as the company’s executive chairman.
The think tank is known as the New American Foundation. It has a strong reputation as an imaginative and non-partisan policy think tank. Schmidt became the chairperson of the in 2008. Since then, the think tank has often promoted Google and its policies.
While Google scored highly in its “Ranking Digital Rights” project (RDR), the result wasn’t so good for other companies. According to the think tank, almost half of the companies that were analyzed showed a serious lack of respect for the freedom of expression and privacy of their users.
The RDR project functioned by merely looking at the text of the companies’ mission statements, click-through policies and public utterances. In other words, it focused on what they say they do rather than what they actually. This poor method of measurement allowed Google to come out on top.
However, members of the think tank support this method. Project leader Rebecca McKinnon said, “We did not fact check their statements. What we’re hoping is that this creates a set of data based on what companies claim they’re doing. This is a conversation starter.”
So while Google can pat itself on the back for a job well done, most people understand that this study means absolutely nothing. Google is still widely viewed as one of the biggest offenders when it comes to storing the personal data of users. This study does not change anything.
In the end, Google essentially won an award from itself. Big deal.