Blowing the Whistle on Google
The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport has just opened a hotline (1.800.710.CCES) to report sports cheaters. When you consider all the malfeasance appearing daily in the corporate world, on Wall Street and the Internet, I can’t help but question this use of taxpayers’ money. I dial anyway. It is Grey Cup Sunday and separate recordings, in both official languages, inform me to leave a message.
Most Canadians remember Ben Johnson, who won, then lost a 100-metre 9.79 second Olympic race and cyclist Lance Armstrong, who won, then lost a 21-day, 3,600-kilometre Tour de France title—seven times! Even A-Rod, the New York Yankee third baseman and all-time highest paid player, got caught.
Why do sports, political and business heroes cheat? Perhaps Dr. Michael Gazzaniga has found the source of their discontent: a region of the human brain that can simply be dishonest with the rest of your cranium. Named the “Interpreter Module,” these neurons in the left hemisphere of the prefrontal cortex interpret or even fabricate stories in an attempt to make sense of the world. Even when the Interpreter is ignorant of the facts or is blatantly starved for truth, it will simply make stuff up.
On that note, I make another call, dialing 1.800.Internet-Fraud. “Hello,” I whistle. “I’d like to report a business that pays its investors with money from new investors even though they have never made a profit in seven years.”
“Sir, in spite of that sounding precisely like the definition of a Ponzi scheme,” she answers, “Twitter has actually gone public and now has a value of $25 billion. Thanks for calling.” Click.
I hit redial. “Did I hear you say $25 billion?” I blurt. “They have never even made a profit. Okanagan Life has made a profit.”
I’m on hold again and John Lennon is belting out Mind Games, which is so steroid-induced-ironic because 40 years ago when the song was released, Lennon was completely stressed from constant FBI surveillance. Today, nobody seems stressed from the creepy constant surveillance of Google. They are watching you and everybody else: hacking into iPhones, tool-bar spying, illegally filming people on Street View or performing the Google Wi-Spy, a scandal that has been reported in the Huffington Post as “the largest breach of privacy in history across western democracies.” The European Union’s top antitrust official has warned Google it could face formal charges soon. Google, could you pee in this cup?