Reason Leader and Member for Northern Metropolitan Region, Fiona Patten, says our modern reliance on the internet means that Google’s algorithms are essentially the gatekeeper to information in the public domain – so the tech giant needs to be accountable.
“With great power comes great responsibility,” Ms Patten said.
Ms Patten’s comments come as reports of abortion clinics across Australia have had their advertisements on Google blocked for more than a week with no answers as to why.
Melbourne-based abortion service Marie Stopes have stated they were dependent on Google advertising and website traffic and bookings were down more than 50 per cent since the ads were blocked, which was denying women their rights.
“Google has an almost monopoly on the dissemination of information online and this is an example of how women’s health rights are being impacted. It is important that when issues like this arise, that Google can be reached,” Ms Patten said.
In a preliminary report into digital platforms, the ACCC recommended that a regulatory body was set up to oversee algorithms for advertising and news.
But Ms Patten said there needed to be more done to open that two-way channel between the Government and private media companies.
“This is a 21st century problem and it’s an important one – ‘how do we allow free speech when private companies pretty much own the media’?” she said.
“It is important that Google representatives can be reached immediately and concerns like these addressed.”
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