Today’s announcement by Google of a $200 million per year technology fund is a great headline, but it is important to look behind the big numbers.
- Google pays less than one per cent tax on annual earnings of about $5 billion. Simply paying tax on Australian earnings would deliver far more money to Australia
- It is important to understand how Google will influence the research this money funds; if it simply embeds Google deeper into government, business and community it will only serve as a form of Business Development rather than genuine social investment
- We need to be mindful that Google is currently facing proposals to regulate Google’s advertising monopoly and end the anti-competitive deals that see it as the default search engine on mobile phones.
“When big tech offers to put money into a nation there are always strings attached,” said Peter Lewis, director of the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology.
“While investment in understanding the impact of technology is critical, it is also vital this includes critical analysis of the global corporations that dominate so much of our online lives.”