From The Ethics Alarms “Be Afraid…Be Very Afraid” Files: Fake Maps From Google

Nah, Google doesn’t abuse its power 0r manipulate information for a political agenda! Why would anyone suggest such a thing?

Chuck Schumer suggested that the Senate Office Building, currently named after the late Senator Richard Russell, 1897-1971, a Georgia Democrat who served in the Senate for almost 40 years, be re-named in honor of the late John McCain.

It’s a good suggestion. Russell was an adamant white supremacist, and opposed, unapologetically, civil rights measures his whole career. I’ve been rather surprised that the building’s name wasn’t changed long before, when Democrats controlled the Senate. Why didn’t the Democrats try to get Russell replaced by Edward Kennedy’s name, for example?

Go ahead, guess why.

But it’s not Google’s role to lobby for the change, or worse, to make it unilaterally, as it did today on Google Maps. This was especially bad—but helpful!– timing for the giant tech company, as it is under fire for political bias by the President, who tweeted that the search engine was “rigged,” and Congress, and Google’s CEO just refused to be questioned on the Hill.  These companies, like Facebook, Amazon and Twitter,  are arrogant beyond all measure, drunk with their growing power, and ethically inert. You can regard this episode as just a funny glitch if you like.

I think it’s an inadvertent warning.

“Google Tried to Kill Me!”

Personal injury lawyers, along with their close trial lawyer cousins, the medical malpractice and product liability lawyers, have an unjust reputation. The American tort system is the fairest in the world, and the work of trial lawyers saves lives while it is getting compensation and damages for people who have been injured by the careless, negligent, reckless or malicious acts of others.

Unfortunately, rare cases like that of Lauren Rosenberg overshadow all of this, which is just one of the reasons her lawsuit against Google is objectionable. When you walk down the middle of a highway and get hit by a car, you may have some justification for suing the driver of the car. But suing the website that suggested that you walk on the road? That’s the theory of Laura and her lawyer. According to PC World, Rosenberg was trying to get from 96 Daly Street, Park City, Utah, to 1710 Prospector Avenue, Park City, Utah, and looked up the walking directions on her Blackberry using Google Maps . Google suggested a half-mile walk down “Deer Valley Drive,”  also known as “Utah State Route 224,” which should have been a clue. But Google-trusting Laura started walking down the middle of the highway, and sure enough,  a car hit her.  Her complaint says: Continue reading