Google Promptly and Quietly Erases Lists of Government Partners

April 21, 2014

A pair of articles at PandoDaily tell an interesting story. First they published a piece titled, “Google Distances Itself from the Pentagon, Stays in Bed with Mercenaries and Intelligence Contractors.” In that article, reporter Yasha Levine reveals that, despite Google’s attempts to dissociate itself from the military-industrial complex after last year’s NSA kerfuffle, the search giant is still working closely with several of those agencies, and their contractors. He writes:

“In some cases — like the company’s dealings with the NSA and its sister agency, the NGA — Google deals with government agencies directly. But in recent years, Google has increasingly taken the role of subcontractor: selling its wares to military and intelligence agencies by partnering with established military contractors. It’s a very deliberate strategy on Google’s part, allowing it to more effectively sink its hooks into the nepotistic, old boy government networks of America’s military-intelligence-industrial complex.

“Over the past decade, Google Federal (as the company’s DC operation is called) has partnered up with old school establishment military contractors like Lockheed Martin, as well as smaller boutique outfits — including one closely connected to the CIA and former mercenary firm, Blackwater.”

Levine goes into detail, and that article is an interesting read. However, it was his follow-up piece, “Google Apparently Scrubs Military Contractor Partner Listing, After Pando Report” that really caught our attention. This story shares screenshots taken before and after the revelatory article was posted a couple days before. These images show Google’s Enterprise- Government page displaying lists of government partners. The second shows a page in perpetual-load mode. Levine tells us:

“Later [on the day the first article was posted], I noticed a strange thing: The official Google ‘Enterprise Government’ webpage that had listed some of the company’s military contractor partners no longer loaded. The page worked just fine less than a week ago, but now all it shows is some text up top telling government agencies to ditch their dinosaur IT services and get with Google — ‘Help your agency move fast and innovate’! — and then nothing but empty white space….

“I’ve asked several people to access the page from different parts of the United States and they all come back with the same answer: the page framework partially loads, but all the information is missing. It appears to be the only Google Enterprise page that does not load. I’ve looked around, but could not find this missing list of contractors displayed anywhere else on the Google Enterprise website.”

So, was this glitch purposeful? Well, as of this writing, the page is functioning. However, it no longer includes lists of partners, just links to more info for potential customers. Like Levine, I can find no such list elsewhere on the site. (The closest I found is a page where city reps laud Google for use in running local governments — much less controversial.) Good catch, Pando.

Cynthia Murrell, April 21, 2014

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One Response to “Google Promptly and Quietly Erases Lists of Government Partners”

  1. Paul T. Jackson on April 21st, 2014 11:55 am

    If you search the wayback machine (Internet Archive) you can find those partners listed on the snapshots of the website taken by the archive on Mar. 28th and earlier…if you need to.

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