[bestbits] Accountability group puts Google in same league as big oil and big tobacco

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Sun Jul 16 09:25:01 EDT 2017

On Thursday 13 July 2017 11:38 PM, Jeremy Malcolm wrote:
> But here's an article putting the other side of the story:
> http://www.chronicle.com/article/Scholars-Cry-Foul-at-Their/240635
> We place Google Policy Fellows at EFF, too.  Does that mean that
> whatever work they do for the rest of their careers is tainted by the
> few thousand they received to support their living expenses as an EFF
> fellow?

I do not think so. But a huge amount of transparency must attend what
these fellows work on, who sets their agenda, who shapes, vets, etc
their outputs, and so on?

Since you share EEF's experience with google fellows, let me ask you a
direct question. A few NGOs where Google placed its fellows have told me
in the past that Google closely vets final outcomes of any research from
these fellows. Is it true by your experience/ knowledge?

Meanwhile here is an old Washington Post's report of Google's funding
related malfeasance, of pretty serious kind, including manipulating
conferences, and influencing research and general thinktank outputs.

Not all these reports can be biased....

They had the following to say about google fellows (quoted without
prejudice, since we are on the topic)

        Google “fellows” — young lawyers, writers and thinkers paid by
        the company — populate elite think tanks such as the Cato
        Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the New
        America Foundation.

        To critics, Google’s investments have effectively shifted the
        national discussion away from Internet policy questions that
        could affect the company’s business practices. Groups that might
        ordinarily challenge the policies and practices of a major
        corporation are holding their fire, those critics say.

 Thanks, parminder 

> On 13/7/17 3:21 am, parminder wrote:
>>         Google has spent millions funding academic research in the US
>>         and Europe <https://www.theguardian.com/world/europe-news> to
>>         try to influence public opinion and policymakers, a watchdog
>>         has claimed.
>>         Over the last decade, Google has funded research papers that
>>         appear to support the technology company’s business interests
>>         and defend against regulatory challenges such as antitrust
>>         and anti-piracy, the US-based Campaign for Accountability
>>         (CfA) said in a report
>>         <https://campaignforaccountability.org/new-report-reveals-googles-extensive-financial-support-for-academia/>.
>>         “Google uses its immense wealth and power to attempt to
>>         influence policymakers at every level,” said Daniel Stevens,
>>         CfA executive director.
>>         ................
>>         Academics were directly funded by Google in more than half of
>>         the cases and in the rest of the cases funded indirectly by
>>         groups or institutions supported by Google, the CfA said.
>>         Authors, who were paid between $5,000 and $400,000
>>         (£3,900-£310,000) by Google, did not disclose the source of
>>         their funding in 66% of all cases, and in 26% of those cases
>>         directly funded by Google, according to the report.
>>         ...........
>>         “Whenever Google’s bad behaviour is exposed, it invariably
>>         points the finger at someone else,” said Stevens. “Instead of
>>         deflecting blame, Google should address its record of
>>         academic astroturfing, which puts it in the same league as
>>         big oil and big tobacco
>>         <https://www.theguardian.com/world/series/tobacco-a-deadly-business>.”
>> https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/13/google-millions-academic-research-influence-opinion
>> As we know Google has recently been fined $ 2.7 billion for
>> anti-competitive practices by the EU regulator, which only means that
>> in all countries that are too weak to take on google (or benefit from
>> its profits, meaning the US) Google remains in violation of
>> competition (and many other) laws..... All this Google funded
>> research and advocacy, of dont regulate the Internet (read, Internet
>> companies), are playing a dangerous game, seriously compromising
>> public interest.
>> It is time we declare the honeymoon of civil society and academic
>> love for digital global corporations over. They are today like big
>> oil companies -- no doubt the latter provide what is still the main
>> energy resource that keeps our societies ticking but in the bargain
>> they very often, and systemically, indulge in stuff that needs
>> academics and NGOs to be watching against. It is pretty difficult to
>> undertake such watching while taking considerable money from them. It
>> is a simple truism, but the digital sector tends to ignore it.
>> parminder
>> ____________________________________________________________
>> You received this message as a subscriber on the list:
>>      bestbits at lists.bestbits.net.
>> To unsubscribe or change your settings, visit:
>>      http://lists.bestbits.net/wws/info/bestbits
> -- 
> Jeremy Malcolm
> Senior Global Policy Analyst
> Electronic Frontier Foundation
> https://eff.org
> jmalcolm at eff.org
> Tel: 415.436.9333 ext 161
> :: Defending Your Rights in the Digital World ::
> Public key: https://www.eff.org/files/2016/11/27/key_jmalcolm.txt
> PGP fingerprint: 75D2 4C0D 35EA EA2F 8CA8 8F79 4911 EC4A EDDF 1122

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.igcaucus.org/pipermail/bestbits/attachments/20170716/b119db0e/attachment.htm>

More information about the Bestbits mailing list