A group representing California bail bond companies is considering legal action after Google this week announced a ban on ads for bail bond services.
Google, in announcing the ban — to take effect in July — charged that “for-profit bail bond providers make most of their revenue from communities of color and low-income neighborhoods when they are at their most vulnerable, including through opaque financing offers that can keep people in debt for months or years.”
A lawyer representing the California Bail Agents Association hit back at the ban, and said the association was considering legal action. Bail bond companies’ advertising is an important service for poor and minority families who want to get their loved ones freed from jail as soon as possible, said San Francisco attorney Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican party official who represents James Damore, a software engineer fired by Google over a memo suggesting women may be biologically less suited for work in tech.
Bail, Dhillon said, is an “integral part of our justice system.” It is enshrined in the U.S. and California constitutions, and is regulated in California by the state, she said. Both constitutions bar “excessive bail.”
A ban from Google severely hampers the ability of bail bond companies to get their ads in front of the public, Dhillon said.
“Google has a virtual monopoly on digital advertising in the United States,” Dhillon said. According to eMarketer, Google is expected to capture 37 percent of digital advertising in America this year.