Is the White House Getting Too Friendly with Google?

Annie Holmquist | April 27, 2016

Is the White House Getting Too Friendly with Google?

If you’ve ever been bombarded with web ads on a topic shortly after Googling or sending an email on the same topic, you’ve probably had an uneasy feeling that Google knows more about you than you’d like to think.

Unfortunately, that uneasy feeling may be destined to grow worse given new information released by the Campaign for Accountability.

Billing itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, the Campaign for Accountability recently took an in-depth look at Google’s relationship with the government. During Obama’s tenure in office, representatives from Google or Google-related companies have had a total of 427 meetings with the White House. Over 100 of these meetings have been with Google lobbyist Johanna Shelton.

According to the Campaign for Accountability, this high number of meetings is concerning because:

“Top lobbyists' activities serve as a bellweather for their employers' level of influence in Government. Visitor access records for these 50 political influencers make clear that Google's access to the White House is unique among corporations and industry associations.” 

Furthermore, the Campaign for Accountability notes that in the last several years, Google and Government have acted like a revolving door of job opportunities, with 61 important Google employees going to work in top Government positions and nearly 200 Government employees heading the other way. (Click here for the interactive version of the below chart.)

Given what we all sense is Google’s heavy involvement in our personal lives, does such close connection and interaction with the government make you nervous? Regardless of the party in the White House, does such chumminess between these two entities signal the possibility for decreased freedom of thought and ideas?

Image Credit: Venturebeat.com via hyperproteinus