In a surprise announcement yesterday, Google and Koch Industries teamed up to help social engineers in their pursuit to end the 8th Amendment Right to Bail in the United States.
Google said it would no longer allow ads from bail bond services on its various platforms. Koch Industries subsequently announced that it was joining with Google to effect changes to the bail system in the U.S. with the clear intention of seeking to eliminate it altogether.
When criminal defendants and their support networks cannot afford to get out of jail, they enlist the aid of bail bonding agents to get them out of jail for a small fee – a fee set and regulated by the state. Bail is a fundamental constitutional right in America, and bail agents were created to stop usurious lending practices while allowing persons who couldn’t afford the entire bail get out of jail.
As they say, politics makes strange bedfellows, and when Google and Koch Industries team up to deny First Amendment rights of businesses to reach consumers in need, it should be cause for concern – not celebration.
For Google’s part, they have stated that they want to stop industries that “profit off of mass incarceration.” Of course, they forget that the bail industry only benefits from decarceration. Every time an inmate stays in jail due to lack of access to bail, there is no benefit to bail companies. Bail companies are engaged in the decarceration business – not the incarceration business.
“Google’s new policy is a call to action for all those in the private sector who profit off of mass incarceration.” – Gina Clayton, executive director of the Essie Justice Group (Google statement). In Google’s case, they have undoubtedly profited millions of dollars on advertising from bail companies attempting to reach those in need, but now that it is politically popular, they will stop taking such ad revenue. Ultimately, these efforts only serve to make a political statement – all while hurting consumers and families in need of bail services.
Every day, when people have friends, family and relatives who are arrested and sent to jail, they will Google how to get their friends and family out of jail. Google now has a new answer for them: don’t Google it because we don’t believe that you should be able to seek out a service that allows you to get your friends or family out of jail and we don’t want people who can help you to have access to you.
Google makes this conclusion because they worry about “opaque financing offers,” which is further indicia of their complete lack of understanding of the bail industry—finance charges and interest are not allowed on bail payment plans—they are interest free and tailored to meet the clients financial means. Luckily, Google will continue to allow for ads for drug companies that produce opioids, liquor and cigarette companies, and unsecured loan companies. As it turns out, usury is only usury if Google says so.
For Koch Industries, they support a risk assessment algorithm in deciding whether people get out of jail rather than judges elected by the people. Of course, that movement has been criticized as creating e-carceration, an electronic version of incarceration that makes it even worse for criminal defendants pending trial by requiring onerous conditions for those released – ultimately setting them up for failure. These algorithms have also been widely criticized as being biased against minority defendants. The Koch’s also apparently want to change “the bail code,” which, much like Google, is reflective of their complete lack of understanding of the bail system in this country. There is no such “bail code.”
It is shameful that Google would deny people access to bail services, which are heavily regulated by state insurance commissioners around the country in 46 states. For years, Google has taken money from bail companies, like all other legal businesses, to let the marketplace help consumers of services find and research the providers of such services that they need.
Navigating the criminal justice process can be daunting for those arrested and their families. At 3:00 am, we are certain that the court clerks are not answering calls for questions regarding a loved ones arrest, however, bail agencies are. Google and Koch seek to deny access to that by trammeling on an entire private industry by inserting their own version of distorted social justice.
The right to bail is a fundamental constitutional right, and Google and their misguided co-fellow billionaires appear more interested in their own social engineering than allowing the average American to exercise their basic Eighth Amendment right to bail.
Apparently, Google and Koch Industries feel they can disregard the Bill of Rights and pander to other interests if it benefits the bottom line and serves their social agenda.
The Bill of Rights in this Country is fundamental, and Koch Industries and Google’s combined $112 Billion dollar net worth can attempt to re-engineer society in their own mold all they want, but we know they have absolutely no chance to re-write the federal and state constitutions with policies that are inconsistent with the rule of law and the Bill of Rights.