Google Inc. (Alphabet Inc.) | Human Rights Impact Assesment at Google Inc. (Alphabet Inc.)

Status
Filed
Previous AGM date
Resolution details
Company ticker
GOOGL
Resolution ask
Report on or disclose
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Human rights
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Shareholder
Company sector
Technology
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
Resolved: Shareholders direct the board of directors of Alphabet Inc. to publish an independent third party Human Rights Impact Assessment (the ?Assessment?), examining the actual and potential human rights impacts of Google?s artificial intelligence-driven targeted advertising policies and practices. This Assessment should be conducted at a reasonable cost; omit proprietary and confidential information, as well as information relevant to litigation or enforcement actions; and be published on the company?s website by June 1, 2025.
Whereas clause
Whereas: Google advertising accounted for approximately 80% of Alphabet?s revenue in 2022. Alphabet?s ad business, including Google Search, YouTube Ads and Google Network, has grown substantially lately, reaching $224 billion in 2022.1 Algorithmic systems are deployed to deliver targeted advertisements, determining what users see. This often results in and exacerbates systemic discrimination and other human rights violations.2 Google?s current ad infrastructure is driven by third-party cookies, which enable other entities to track users online by accumulating significant personal data. This further puts user privacy at risk. While Google has initiated efforts345 to address privacy shortcomings in its advertising system, it remains unclear how these efforts are supporting the establishment of sufficient and effective human rights due diligence. Google asserts that human rights are ?integrated into processes and procedures across the company? with executive oversight.6 However, to do their due diligence, shareholders need more information on how these considerations specifically apply to its dominant source of revenue. In 2019, Google published a summary of a third-party Human Rights Impact Assessment of a celebrity facial recognition algorithm.7 Its targeted ad systems, which affect billions, deserve the same due diligence, particularly as Google and its peers innovate in advertising targeting methods continuously. Concerns around fairness, accountability, non-discrimination and transparency have prompted regulators globally to develop regulations aiming at regulating the use and development of responsible AI while promoting transparency and effective human rights due diligence. The Digital Services Act8 requires companies like Alphabet to take measures to considerate human rights into their handling of user data and algorithmic decision-making. The upcoming EU's Artificial Intelligence Act9 will further regulate the development and use of AI and require AI systems classified as high-risk, including activities relating to targeted advertising, to be subjected to a mandatory fundamental rights impact assessment. With its 274 million unique U.S. visitors in 2023, Google has one of the largest footprints of any entity in the world.10 This unmatched influence requires a proportional commitment to preserving and respecting human rights across all parts of its business model. Failure to do so may expose shareholders to material regulatory, legal, financial and reputational risks. A robust and transparent Assessment is essential for the company to identify, address, and prevent adverse human rights impacts. It will aid in establishing industry-wide accountability for human rights and assure shareholders that its business model is well positioned in the face of increasing regulation.

How other organisations have declared their voting intentions

Organisation name Declared voting intentions Rationale
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