Ex-Channel 4 chief slams Google

Luke Johnson hits out at the Silicon Valley giant for being “monstrous.”


The former chairman of Channel 4 has launched a scathing attack on Google, accusing the company of being "profoundly unethical."

Luke Johnson directed his disapproval at Google Street View in an article he wrote for the Mail on Sunday. He described it as a "monstrous" invasion of privacy and made allegations that the company had engaged in tax avoidance by using tax havens such as Bermuda and Ireland.

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Johnson continued his assault on the company by calling it a Google a "parasite" living off the back of the UK entertainment and media industries.

He added the British commercial media's economic model was "threatened" by Google as they "siphoned off" advertising revenues to California. He accused the company of producing no content of its own, whilst dominating the online search and advertising market and contributing little to the UK economy through corporate taxation.

A Google spokesperson rebutted the claims, saying: "Google complies completely with the tax laws of all the countries in which we have operations. As a result, we make a very substantial contribution to local and national taxation and provide employment for around a thousand people in the UK."

"We also generate significant revenues for other companies, and give more than $5.2 billion (3.3 billion) annually to our AdSense publisher partners, including newspapers and broadcasters across the world."

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This was unlikely to deter the strong words from Johnson, however, and he concluded his article:: "Just as Rockefeller's Standard Oil was an oppressive enterprise that became so powerful it had to be broken up for the public good so I believe Google must be seriously tackled in the national interest."

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