Regulators Order Google: Let Employees Speak
You're invited to travel the world and discover what it means to live the intercontinental life with more than two hundred properties worldwide intercontinental hotels and resorts welcomes you to who iconic properties in global destinations including New York London and Shanghai discover more about the cities and the tails inspire with stories of the intercontinental continental life a collection of stories that were excited your curiosity and offer new perspectives on the world here more at intercontinental dot com forward slash life. This is tech news briefing. I'm Tanya Cousteau's reporting from the newsroom in New York and the government government has a new order for Google. Let employees speak out. The settles. Political bias claims raised by former and current employees or does it. Where does this leave workplace culture in Silicon Valley. Can we expect more accountability for big tax on the horizon looking into it all after these headlines staying on topic for moment. Google is paying more than one billion dollars in fines and back taxes too subtle pair of tax disputes in France. This isn't the first time Google has settled tax disputes in Europe in two thousand sixteen at handed over one hundred and sixty million dollars as part of the settlement with the UK's Tax Authority for the years two thousand five five to twenty fifteen reports. Sam Schechner covers more of the story wsj.com and remaining in France firmament French Finance Minister Bruno Lemaire is is pushing back on facebook digital currency Lieber project speaking at a blockchain tech conference in Paris on Thursday lemaire said he has serious concerns about libra and what he called an eventual privatization of money one that could weaken currencies and countries not to mention undermine the fight against money-laundering the Lieber Association a Switzerland based group of twenty eight companies including facebook that will oversee the currency said Llamas comments underscore the importance of their ongoing work with regulators and world you leaders so within this spotify just acquired sound better a Brooklyn based company that helps artists higher audio professionals to work on their music sound better has more than one hundred eighty thousand artists registered on its network and offers its audio professional matchmaking services in one hundred and seventy-six countries the company will join these spotify for artists unit which manages artists profiles and provides promotional tools for about four hundred thousand artists and their teams the goal to develop a two two sided marketplace in which charges artists and labels for data analytics so when the bank not a bank maybe when it's square aware at least that's according to the company itself in a lawsuit filed last week the mobile money transfer business suit. San Francisco arguing that it paid too much in taxes X.'s in two thousand fourteen in two thousand fifteen because the city wrongfully classified it as a financial company square says it should have been taxed as a tech company instead and it's demanding one point three three million dollars back plus interest and attorney's fees and it looks like American cell phone bills are falling. This is as the largest carriers trim prices and cable companies. Please continue to win new customers by offering wireless service case in Point Verizon recently revamped its lineup of unlimited plans as it moves customers away from metered plans also cable company out. USA recently began offering cell phone plans at twenty dollars a month for existing Internet TV and landline phone customers and thirty dollars a month for non-customers which is incidentally less than what rival charter and comcast charge for their wireless services coming up amid a growing push to hold Silicon Valley early more accountable. The government has a message for Google. Let employees speak out. You're invited to travel the world and discover what it means to live the intercontinental dental life with more than two hundred properties worldwide intercontinental hotels and resorts welcomes you to icon properties in global destinations including New York London and Shanghai discover more about these cities and the tails inspire with stories of the intercontinental life a collection of stories that will excite your curiosity and offer new perspectives on the world here more at intercontinental dot com forward slash life the national labor relations board has officially ordered Google to let employees speak out on political and workplace issues. It is the latest bid to to hold Google legally accountable for something. So what does this mean for workplace culture in Silicon Valley. How about four accountability for big tech here to help us sort things out is Wall Street Journal reporter Robin Copeland Patching in from San Francisco. Hey Rob. Thanks for joining us. Thank you for having me. So what does this settlement specifically mean for Google so this settlement woman really is the latest in a number of actions that regulators have taken regarding speech and activity at Google. This is a reminder sure that no matter what rules that Google may have for its employees they still have to follow the law and in fact the law supersedes that this is in response to complaints about about how Google handles workplace descent essentially remind us how we got here because Google was once known as a workplace culture designed to encourage open debate exactly Google Google is founded two decades ago to organize the world's information. They have a slogan that basically says do no evil however in recent years the workplace it has really been roiled by a number of arguments over youtube policies on hate speech over whether conservatives at the company are given a fair shake when they share their the ideas and what is ostensibly a search engine has really devolved into a number of shouting matches this this issue of being able to speak to the media freely. Can you talk a little bit more about that how that plays into the whole big story here sure. Google and a lot of the other big tech companies have very strict policies on their employees employees speaking to the media and that can affect a lot of people because Google alone employs one hundred thousand full-timers another hundred thousand part timers so the NLRB here is asking google to remind employees that they are allowed to speak to the media. They don't have to ask for permission and that's a big deal until it can valley right. It's interesting because for Google. The seems like a little bit of an escape hatch as you mentioned in your article it holds Google accountable but it doesn't say Google a wrong long. Is this a win. This is as close to a win as you're gonNA find for Google in two thousand nineteen. There was one complaint in particular from a former engineer who is as conservatives who said that he was fired. After expressing some right-leaning beliefs and the agreement does not say that they have to rehire him does not say that they have to pay him back it essentially just as they have to remind employees that they're allowed to share similar beliefs big picture. Does this leave a mark. Does this set set the stage. You know we also just have this figures coming from France with regards to tax disputes. Can we expect to see more accountability from Google from Big Tech. What's your sense. You're certainly gonNA. I WANNA see more actions. We're seeing them already. The other side of that is Google is so fantastically successful that these fines and these actions have essentially actually no impact on the bottom line. France announced a one billion dollar about a tax penalty Google's advertising revenue last year was there's one hundred sixteen billion dollars in there you have it Rob Copeland. Thanks so much for the time that will do it for this edition of tech news briefing from the newsroom in New York. I'm Tanya Bustos. Thanks for listening.