Fight Racism & Fraud by Fixing Google Maps
Google has been an immense force for change in the world. Its profits and revenues reflect that its impact is felt by virtually everyone on Earth. It wields more power than was previously thought possible by one company.
However, this power is not currently being wielded solely for good. Malevolent people are using Google in very specific ways that cause devastating harm to thousands of real people. Google knowingly facilitates this abuse and directly profits from it. This makes the company, in a very real sense, an accessory to an untold number of crimes. Google is not the only company that is facilitating these crimes, but it is by far the largest.
Sometimes it is not enough to “don’t be evil”. Sometimes one must be an active force for good.
There are several adjustments to Google’s policies that could greatly curb this abuse. For some, the cost would be virtually nothing. For others, it would be more. However, corporate responsibility dictates that companies clean up their messes. And Google is aiding and abetting the gross pollution of the Internet.
Google has steadfastly refused to implement these changes. Because it has not provided a coherent explanation, one must infer that it deems the cost of these changes to outweigh their benefits. While this may be true for Google as a corporation, it is not true of the population as a whole.
By signing this petition, I am asking Google to undertake the following policy changes before reinstating the “Google Map Maker” application:
1. Require businesses to disclose a physical address, either to Google privately or publicly, rather than permit the use of so-called “Postal Box” stores, which make fraudulent listings far easier.
2. Discontinue its telephone verification system for businesses, in favor of cross-referencing the prospective listing against business license records or reasonably equivalent information, to effectively prevent fraudulent businesses from obtaining Google listings.
3. Improve reporting tools to provide an efficient and transparent means for fraudulent businesses identified by the public to be removed by Google.
4. Limit the abuse permitted through crowdsourcing by limiting the number of edits that company profiles are allowed to make without additional scrutiny being applied.
If these changes are not made by December 31, 2015, then by signing this petition I also promise that I will make the following changes to my own behavior:
1. I will no longer use the Google search engine or its related applications, including Google Maps and Google Earth.
2. I will disable all Gmail email accounts.
3. I will sell all shares of Google stock.
4. I will make these changes as publicly as reasonably possible.
I sign this petition in the hopes that it helps Google to reconsider its decision to ignore these issues, by creating at least the possibility that more money will be lost by continuing Google’s role in these crimes than by taking the reasonable steps necessary to curb them.
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