“Google goes to great lengths to maintain confidentiality in negotiations about data centers.

“Google goes to great lengths to maintain confidentiality in negotiations about data centers.

Negotiations between tech companies and cities on possible contracts usually take place behind closed doors. But that secrecy is less and less popular, as Amazon recently discovered when it cancelled plans for a new campus in New York. Among other things, it received many comments on the secrecy surrounding the negotiations. However, research shows that Amazon is by no means the only company that prefers to keep such negotiations secret.

On the basis of new documents it received, the Washington Post reports that Google is also using non-disclosure agreements to negotiate new data centers. Google also uses companies that only exist on paper. In this way, it can hold negotiations with cities without the involvement of all kinds of parties in between.

Extensive confidentiality

The documents came into the hands of a group that calls itself the Partnership for Working Families. That is what San Jose is suing in California for certain confidentiality agreements that it has signed with Google in the context of certain negotiations. The message follows Google’s announcement last week that it is investing 13 billion dollars in the expansion and construction of new data centers and offices in the United States.

According to the Washington Post, Google used companies that exist only on paper to negotiate with cities where it later actually built data centers. Sometimes Google used several such companies and used code names in negotiations with government employees. Google does not let governments with which it negotiates know who it is until late in the process. For example, the newspaper states that in the case of the city of Midlothian, Google set up a fake company and negotiated under that name. It wasn’t until a year later, when the deal was almost done, that Google made itself known.

More confidentiality

These kinds of agreements appear to have been made in several cases, including in Boulder, Colorado, San Jose and Clarksville, Tennessee. A Google spokesman says that this practice is commonplace in the industry. She is right, because Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft also use similar techniques in negotiations.

At the same time, it seems that Google goes a little further than the competition when it comes to confidentiality. Google states that in municipalities where it has built data centres, information about the energy and water consumption of those data centres is also a trade secret. This does not apply to Apple and Facebook data centers.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.