Google cut off Canada instead of complying with Canadian law


In an effort to improve political advertising transparency, Canada drafted a Bill that requires companies to develop ad libraries, to which ads are added immediately in order for researchers, journalists, and other people to be able to search and understand how political actors are targeting ads. In response, Google announced that it would blanket-ban all political ads in Canada, saying the company was unable to comply with the new law. Google’s decision shows both that the current state of online advertising is out of control and that Google’s monopolistic position is untenable – people are being micro-targeted with ads, their data is being exploited in ways they do not understand or likely consent to, and tech companies are choosing the cynical approach of assessing whether markets are valuable enough to comply with national laws aimed at strengthening democratic structures.

Elizabeth Dubois, Fenwick McKelvey, Taylor Owen

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