John Kent Walker Jr. is Google’s Chief Legal Officer and a Senior Vice President in the Global Affairs. He is one of 15 executives who report directly to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. His position places him above the department of Trust and Safety when it comes to making censorship decisions. In this article we will discuss the harm that takes place under his watch before concluding with information we find about him personally.
Commonly known as Global Affairs and Public Policy, the Global Affairs department is where Google finds ways to justify sabotaging their core service with unnecessary censorship. We say “unnecessary” because in recent years they moved beyond only removing content that they had a legal obligation to remove in accordance with their mission statement. Today they remove or suppress a large variety of lawful content in the name of Trust and Safety.
Trust and Safety
Trust and Safety is a department further down the chain of command under Walker. They are largely tasked with enforcing policy changes made by Global Affairs as well as implementing their own policies. Global Affairs appears to be responsible for the more sweeping policy changes that have nothing to do with content quality such as banning ads for legal industries like payday loans and bail bonds, and suppressing sites with so called “exploitative removal practices.” These decision are typically made to further the sissyfication of society by protecting stupid people from their own stupidity or equating the feeling of being offended with psychological harm. As one former Google employee said, “Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety.” Their beliefs are alarmingly common among those we call “bubble people” in reference to a sheltered highly sensitive segment of society far more likely to make claims of being traumatized by harmless stressors.
Payday Loans and Bail Bonds
Think what you want of high interest short term loans and cash bonds. Both are likely to only be used by poor people and cause them to sink further into debt which is Google’s stated reason for not allowing ads from both industries. The blog posts explaining the changes were both written by a subordinate of Walker’s named David Graff. They cite stuff like trying to help low income communities of color and other politically correct nonsense. The truth is that Google has sold out their own shareholders for ideological reasons. If we owned stock in Alphabet we would be mad as hell. We think part of the problem is that the people making these decisions are filthy rich and care more about their public image than how tens of millions of dollars in revenue for the company would impact their stock bonuses, which is just chunk change by their standards. They are quite good at putting up smokescreens making their choices look socially responsible, but if you scratch the surface you will learn that is not the case. Even the dumbest of the poor know that payday loans are risky and should only be used as a last resort. A last resort like being the only option to pay the rent. In many cases payday loans have save people from losing their homes. Even the dumbest of the poor know that bail bondsmen should only be used as a last resort to get out of jail. A last resort like having no other way of getting out of jail. Google has made it harder for people to find bail bondsmen near them when their loved ones are arrested. We talked to an ex-con that we work with and he was very clear that he would much rather go into debt than spend time in pre-trial detention. The bail bonds industry has issues that should be addressed to reduce the financial risk associated with them, but they ultimately do more good than harm.
When people find their name in a negative article on a site that charges removal fees they often get tunnel vision. All they care about is getting the link off of Google after which getting rid of the article itself becomes secondary. That was the reason why Google decided to start removing search results to those sites upon request, but they eventually learned that websites could circumvent those removals, so they announced a policy change that would rank such sites lower in search results for people’s names. The change was strikingly similar to a similar one made by the Google Search department targeting mugshot sites many years ago. That change started out as a means of improving the quality of search results by keeping duplicate arrest records and mugshots from dominating search, but eventually made search worse by suppressing them entirely. As the CEO of Mugshots.com said:
Thanks to Google’s algorithm change, there is now an enormous public safety blind spot that puts every person in the country at potential risk who performs a Google search on someone with a criminal history—that number is in the millions. When the issue is viewed from the general public’s perspective, in contrast to the perspective of individuals who have been arrested, it becomes clear that Google’s decision leaves unsuspecting members of the general public at risk.– Mugshots.com
Mugshots.com is correct. Google lulled their own users into a false sense of security by suppressing accurate and highly relevant information that users often found useful because it helped them learn who people really are. Today people are far more likely to Google someone’s name and come away thinking there is nothing wrong with them when in fact they have a lengthy criminal record. There are limited exceptions in cases of sex offender registries and high profile cases covered by the news media. This hardly makes the world’s information more accessible and useful in accordance with Google’s mission statement.
Fast forward to June of this year when Google announced an identical manual penalty for non-mugshot sites that charge removal fees. Their justifications were basically the same and so were the events leading up to it. Google received negative publicity from The New York Times for not doing more to protect people claiming to be victims. Victimhood culture played a stronger role this time around because the content involved anonymous accusations as opposed to real arrest records. The Times used an extreme case in which a Canadian woman abused websites that allow people to post consumer complaints, reports of cheating partners, and other things. She falsely accused hundreds of people of being pedophiles and many of those people blamed Google for their problems. They seemed to get tunnel vision and so did readers. Rather than crunch all the numbers and find a solution that best serves Google, Google shareholders, Google users, people that use the sites in question to expose embarrassing truths, the sites themselves, and those victimized by false accusations, Google enacted a solution that only benefits people claiming to have been victimized without proof. They seemed to have endorsed the position that un-proven accusations are in fact false when the truth is that they are in no position to know if they are false. They have basically taken the position that the interest of a few cry babies whining about Google results for their names outweigh society’s interest in the free flow of information. This sets a dangerous precedent that threatens to create an Orwellian state in which the flow of information is controlled by a highly regulated group making bias decisions to further their own political objectives.
Today Google’s decisions have had a negative impact on search as a whole even when it comes to so called “known victims.” Instead of providing users with the best experience by serving them the most relevant results, users now must page through large quantities of irrelevant results to find negative articles unless they are hosted by sites that do not advertise removal fees. This has resulted in far fewer negative results for those people, but the ones that remain are often identical or striking similar with no apparent removal options at all. This is similar to the impact that state laws targeting mugshot sites had on that industry. A decade ago anyone could remove any mugshot from Mugshots.com for $399, but today only people whose charges have been expunged can remove their mugshots. They don’t have to pay a fee, which is nice for them, but most people are now left with no removal options at all. Today people claiming to have been victims of harassment often find the same articles on the first page of Google results for their name linking to sites that do not advertise removals. In most cases those sites actually do charge removal fees, but they don’t advertise them to avoid being penalized.
We found that out after trying to negotiate a deal for someone whose name appeared on one of our sites and one of theirs. We asked one of the reputation management companies in their circle for a quote and received an outrageous response of over $2,000. We were hoping to get our potential client a package deal that would allow him to remove content from both sites for less than it would have cost him to remove it from just ours. Unfortunately, we had to tell him that because of what the other site charged we didn’t think it would be worth it for him to use our service. Sometime later we implemented a cheap automated solution that he used because our price was low enough to make it worth it despite not being able to afford the other. We always wanted to play a disruptive role of that nature. Our main reason for launching some of our sites was to drive traffic to other sites of ours that allow users to post gripes. We did that by having a bot scrape content from other gripe sites and displaying it alongside ads for ours. We quickly were inundated with removal requests and realized that we would either have to charge a high price to reduce demand or find an automated solution. When we found an automated solution we were able to set prices without having to consider things like labor and opportunity costs associated with manually removing stuff ourselves or performing other services that we bundled with removals like personalized SEO audits with recovery plans. As a result our prices dropped over 90% overnight. We had hoped that over time customers like the man who chose to use our new option instead of our competitor’s expensive option would eventually force them to lower their prices. At that point we would have a concrete figure that we would use when criticized for selling removals. Our rebuttal would then be something like, “sure we charge $, but our industry leading automated solutions have forced others in the industry to drop their prices by $ and as a result consumers now save over $.”
Unfortunately, it is now becoming unrealistic for our competitors to lower their prices due to Google making more work for them. Today just advertising a paid removal option is SEO suicide no matter how cheap it is. This forces our competitors to incur significant expenses to make sure their content still appears in search while keeping their removal options hidden. They have to do things like funnel their sales through third party law firms so that they can maintain anonymity and bind their clients with confidentiality agreements. The law firms charge them a lot of money which is why their fees are so high. They also have to employ third parties to advertise removals without disclosing their affiliation. That requires new websites, SEO work, and in some cases purchasing Google ads. All of that incurs significant overhead which is reflected in their prices. On top of that most people are not willing to pay fees at all or cannot afford a price structure necessary for the company to cover their increased expenses. As a result their client base is restricted to wealthy people willing to pay large sums of money. The type of people for which thousands of dollars is just chunk change even if the only search engines the content ranks highly on are Bing powered. If Google did not make all that necessary they might be in a position to consider lowering prices for the masses like we did.
Impact on Search Overall
Google’s supposed efforts to help people actually hurt them. They are creating a situation in which it is better for business not to remove content at all. On top of that the content which is not suppressed appears more credible because it both ranks high and lacks competition that could otherwise make it appear less credible. Less credible if Google were to adopt the warning label system we propose as a compromise in our manifest. A compromise that would allow users to see similar content appear in search right below with labels advising users that it is unverified, disputed, or misleading instead of suppressed behind irrelevant results. We think that Google users would be less likely to believe the material which currently remains unsuppressed if similar results appeared beneath it with warning labels. They would say things to themselves like, “that is on the first page of Google, but so are these others which are all flagged as unverified, so this probably is not verified either.”
YouTube is the most common medium where people are likely to encounter Trust and Safety with the other being Google AdSense.
Anyone that posts edgy videos on YouTube will likely get an email from Trust and Safety someday. The email will probably say that their video has been removed for something like “hate speech” just because it contains criticism of a person or a group by someone who obviously hates that person or group. The notice will likely contain a link to their policy on “hate speech” which includes many examples of benign First Amendment protected speech with criteria such as immigration status, sexual orientation, and religion. Making a comment like, “I’m so sick of illegal aliens invading America” will likely be categorized as “hate speech” based on immigration status. Saying that you were “grossed out” by the sight of two men kissing each other in public would likely be categorized as homophobic even if it is nothing more than an honest explanation of your natural reaction to something you witnessed. Advocating for world peace by saying something like, “my plan for world peace is to get all the Christians and Muslims to kill each other so that the Jews will kill themselves because they have no one left to manipulate” would surely be viewed as religious “hate speech” even if the speaker clearly hates all religions equally. On the other hand, comments far more hateful and vulgar directed at heterosexual white males would likely be allowed unless labeled as harassment or cyberbullying.
Criticizing just about anyone is likely to get your content removed as harassment or cyberbullying. The notice you receive will likely include a link to their policy on harassment and cyberbullying which includes many examples protected by the First Amendment such as:
- Targeting an individual and making claims they are involved in human trafficking in the context of a harmful conspiracy theory where the conspiracy is linked to direct threats or violent acts.
- Depicting an identifiable individual being murdered, seriously injured, or engaged in a graphic sexual act without their consent.
That first one is clearly aimed at Qanon theory. Notice that it doesn’t actually require any threats or violent acts? They just claim Qanon members to be linked to such things, so you can’t post anything calling Joe Biden a vampire involved in human trafficking. If that theory really is as unfounded as people claim then shouldn’t people be free to debate it? Unfounded theories are typically exposed during debates. That second example ends with a good example of something YouTube rightfully cracks down on, but the first two are problematic: First, it usually is not possible to get permission from a murder victim to post a video of their death unless the victim gave permission before their death because they are dead; Second, when someone is seriously injured it can often be publicly beneficial to post the footage for the purpose of stimulating discussion. Last year people posted videos of anti-police protests that often featured people being injured without their consent. What if the video of the injury also shows them doing something wrong? Should someone be able to bury the truth about themselves simply by saying that the truth includes a depiction of them being injured which was disclosed without consent? Of course not.
If you have a monetized YouTube channel and allow users to comment on your videos to increase engagement then it is probably only a matter of time until you get an email from Google saying that your video has been demonetized due to comments posted by other people. Then they will blame you for the comments as if you somehow are responsible for what other people say. Their advice is typically for you to anally moderate comments and delete anything that might irritate a Bubble Person. For instance, their advertiser-friendly content guidelines includes a long list of harmless content capable of triggering demonization such as inflammatory language, firearms related content, tobacco related content, and controversial issues. Google usually defends this on the grounds that they might lose advertisers if they didn’t demonetize such things, but the truth is that Google’s reach is so vast that very few advertisers would stop advertising with them over such things. In fact, Google likely loses far more by demonetizing harmless content than they would lose if some advertisers became so offended that they stopped buying ads. This should come as a shock to most people, but like we said earlier the people making these decisions have already made so much money that they have the luxury of prioritizing society over what is best for the company.
Bubble People are a highly sheltered segment of society. They basically live in an overprotective bubble that shields them from common stressors. The result is a reduction of overall stress, but stress tolerance is also significantly reduced. In metaphorical terms it is similar to people living in plastic bubbles for medical reasons whose immune systems are weak. They are less likely to become ill due to lack of exposure, but if they are exposed they will probably become sicker. Bubble People typically love living in a social bubble because they encounter far fewer stressors than normal people, but the stressors they do encounter stress them out more. In many cases those stressors wouldn’t be stressful at all if they simply toughened up a bit. We are going to look at three such stressors:
- Physical shoving: If you so much as put hands on a Bubble Person be ready to defend yourself from a tirade of crying, snitching, and a lawsuit. What a real man would blow off as just some punk shoving him becomes a life changing event according to Bubble People. They will call the police, say they feared for their lives, and file a lawsuit claiming to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Then they will claim that their PTSD causes them to fear for their lives on a regular basis because just bumping up against people in an elevator is a trigger. They will claim that you owe them hundreds of thousands of dollars for a lifetime of mental anguish and therapy bills.
- Insults: Don’t insult a Bubble Person unless you are prepared to defend yourself from a slew of guilt trips. What a real man would blow off as just some punk running his mouth becomes a self esteem shattering event according to Bubble People. Call a Bubble Girl fat and next thing you know she goes on a diet, starts working out, and after the impact becomes noticeable she won’t thank you for the motivation, but instead claim she still cries whenever she looks in the mirror.
- Being yelled at: Do not raise your voice in anger at a Bubble Person unless you are prepared to defend allegations of making them fear for their safety. What a real man would blow off as just some punk yelling at him whose too chicken shit to actually do anything becomes a traumatic event according to a Bubble Person. They will say things like “I kept thinking he was going to hit me” and get a restraining order.
As you can see Bubble People can become quite problematic when they attempt to force everyone else to act as if they too live in their bubble. When they really should just toughen up they become a burden to everyone else instead. They burden the courts with frivolous lawsuits, waste law enforcement resources seeking protection, and ultimately waste great amounts of their own resources for psychological treatment that normal people do not need or want.
If Google recognized Bubble People for what they are and just told them to toughen up then we wouldn’t we writing this, but instead Google has chosen to create this censorship albatross intent on eliminating all claims of emotional distress no matter how meritless. We believe this is largely due to Google employees being Bubble People. Most Google employees are sheltered academics that spent their whole lives in school before going to work in sheltered environments. Had they ever stepped outside their bubbles long enough to learn how stupid most of their fears really are, we doubt things would have reached this point.
Global Affairs Conclusion
Global Affairs has converted what was once a free internet into a global authoritarian state run by Bubble People. As such they care more about being safe than being free because they have never truly been free and credit their sense of security to their own bondage.
As Chief Legal Officer, Walker is likely well aware of his company’s criminal activities and probably helps cover them up or at least make arrangements to keep them from being held accountable. He is also responsible for keeping the company from being broken up the the government.
We covered the recent criminal activities of Google CEO Sundar Pichai in our recent article about him. Those activities include lying to Congress under oath in violation of federal perjury laws. We believe that Walker likely counseled Pichai directly before and after those incidents. His counsel may have included recommendations to lie under oath, but it is more likely that he recommended against it and was stuck doing damage control afterwards. We also think he may have taken steps to negotiate with the government so that Google employees could later make admissions without exposing Pichai to prosecution.
Most people that have never been directly involved with the criminal justice system in some way think the decision to prosecute is a black and white one based solely on whether or not a law has been broken, but in realty there is a large gray area. The gray area is due to what’s called prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutorial discretion allows prosecutors not to prosecute crimes. It has many benefits for prosecutors such as the ability to gain the cooperation of witnesses by granting them immunity in exchange for testifying against someone else, allowing victims of crimes to come forward without being afraid of prosecution themselves, and the ability to ignore crimes should they feel society would not benefit from enforcing the law.
We believe that Walker or someone in Walker’s department likely reached out to prosecutors before statements were made incriminating Pichai. This is a common practice by defense attorneys when they want to argue that society would be better served by allowing their client to make incriminating statements. In a perjury case they might ask to speak to a prosecutor off the record and make an argument not to prosecute should certain incriminating statements be made. Statements like publicly admitting that Google employees manually manipulate search rankings after testifying that “it is not possible for an individual employee or groups of employees to manipulate our search results.” His likely argument would be that prosecuting Pichai for perjury would be less beneficial to society than allowing Google employees to publicly admit to the “known victims” system of search manipulation. He would argue that unless Google employees were free to admit to it that many people would still pay removal fees instead of registering as “known victims.” If our sales numbers are any indication it was not the “known victims” system itself, but Google’s announcement and the publicity that followed which is primarily responsible for our lower numbers.
Google’s “known victims” system is compatible with the goals of federal prosecutors, some of which pursued cases they wouldn’t have otherwise pursued against people that own sites like ours. Each federal prosecution costs the government at least a few hundred thousand dollars even if the case doesn’t go to trial. In our industry it is not uncommon for federal prosecutors to pursue cases unrelated to websites themselves against site owners as a means of incapacitating them. That is especially true if the charges involve use of a computer or person to person conflicts. In such cases the government will seek restrictions on computer use or activities likely to cause conflicts with others as conditions of supervised release. They will argue that use of a computer was directly related to the crime and the defendant should not be allowed to use computers without permission from a probation officer or that they can only use computers running monitoring software that tracks their every move. Monitoring can be problematic for anyone providing anonymous publishing services to users because all of a sudden the government gets access to their data. The primary motive is often the large number of complaints they receive from the public due to high ranking Google results. We suspect that Walker or someone in his department reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and argued that taxpayers would benefit far more by allowing the company to announce “known victims” than they would by prosecuting one man for perjury. We think that the election of Joe Biden and the Justice Department being under liberal leadership likely exacerbated the problem because until recently conservatives were the ones calling for Pichai to be arrested based on the existence of human quality raters and admissions of a former Google engineer. However, the system involving human quality raters did not do nearly as much to incriminate Pichai as “known victims” did because the way Google itself explains “known victims” describes a mechanism used by Google employees to manually demote specific sites for specific queries.
We also suspect that Google’s arrangement with the government likely included an agreement to cooperate more with investigations into Google users. We cannot prove it at this time, but it would be typical behavior for prosecutors. We could see the government say something like, “do more to work with us and we will leave you alone.” In fact, it is entirely possible that “known victims” may have been created as part of or to increase the probability of an immunity deal. In that scenario Google would have likely been looking for an opportunity to strike a deal with the government to make sure they got away with perjury. It could have led to dialog like, “what if we help you do something about these exploitative sites, then will you leave us alone for telling the public how?”
According to The Wall Street Journal, Walker’s primary job is keeping the company from being broken up by the federal government. Why would the federal government want to break up a company run by bootlickers so willing to work with them? Because antitrust laws require them to and if Google were broken up into smaller companies run by the same bootlickers they wouldn’t be less cooperative.
Walker graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College and Stanford Law. He then went on to a successful legal career.
Walker joined the California bar in 1987 (#129945) before becoming an associate at Howard, Rice, Nemerovsky, Robertson & Falk. In 1990 he became an Assistant United States Attorney and prosecuted technology crimes before becoming a technology policy advisor for the Attorney General. His history shows just how close Google is to the government. He moved to the private sector in 1995 and worked for companies like Netscape, AOL, Airtouch Communications, and eBay before joining Google in 2006. See his LinkedIn profile.
At Google he served as a vice president in the general counsel department from 2006 to 2012. In 2012 he became a senior vice president. In 2018 he moved to the Global Affairs department.
Not much is known about his private life. That is somewhat of a surprise due to the high profile nature of his work, but not too surprising given his history as a federal prosecutor. He probably does more to hide his private life from the public just in case someone he put away ever looks for him.
Where He Lives
We have not been able to locate his current home address. We did find his mother’s house in Palo Alto, but obviously he doesn’t live there and we are not about to drag his mother into this. Our background check service did have an option to pull Walker’s information but it never loads probably because the link appears under known associates of someone else and Walker took steps to suppress his information in public records. Many current and former federal prosecutors are entitled to suppress public records about themselves, but not many actually do.
If you know where Kent Walker lives or you have access to contact information like personal email addresses and phone numbers please contact us.
We wish we had a lawyer like Kent Walker. Someone capable of helping us monopolize industries while lying under oath without legal consequences would truly make us feel invincible.