Google has to obey the law.
Doesn’t matter if the law is oppressive, as in China. If Google wants to do business in China, it must obey the law.
Google can fight stupid laws, as in the EU Google can argue in court against some laws, as it’s doing in the U.S.
But Google must, in the end, obey the law.
I’m sick and tired of sanctimonious claptrap from people who state, baldly, that Google’s stated intent to “do no evil” means it must defy the law. Google is a public company. Google can’t do that. No public company can.
You can complain all you want about Google’s actions within the law. People do. They complain about its cookies, about its tracking usage patterns. They complain about its habit of leaving projects out to dry if they don’t work, about how some projects aren’t worth the spin that’s placed on them. They complain about its lack of lobbying prowess, or how little it has spent lobbying.
But Google has to obey the law.
Google users are supposed to as well. But as individuals we have other paths open to us. We can try to evade the law by using anonymizers and encryption. We can defy the law and (perhaps) go to jail for it. We can cooperate with those who (as in China) want to defy the law there. We can put our own lives on the line, and perhaps lose those lives in the process, as with reporter Jill Carroll.
These are some of the real differences between corporations and individuals, and why the idea that corporations are considered individuals under U.S. law is nonsense. When corporations are killed by events, by circumstance, or mere incompetence, the only real suffering is done by shareholders, not by the actors who caused the trouble.
Now if we could execute Ken Lay or Bernie Ebbers or Dennis Kozlowski, or (more important) if we could execute the leaders of Delta and other bankrupt corporations for their lame-brained incompetence, then you’d have something different.
But we can’t. There is no one to execute, and really no one to imprison, when a company goes under.
But every corporation, even Google, must obey the law.
If you’ve got a problem with that, write your Congresscritter.