Some governments are pushing back against Google’s powerful political influence — but not ours
The battle on behalf of Big Tech against artists is becoming a rearguard action. The battle tactics practiced by Silicon Valley’s lobby groups have been reprehensible, and the strategy of squeezing artists shortsighted. Behind it all, of course, is a powerful force: Google, which aggressively deploys its vast wealth to make sure that creators get a raw deal, and Google gets a good one.
If Google’s interests seem to benefit a lot from its financial support for Open Media, it doesn’t stop there. The scent of Google’s paid influence is finally being picked up in all kinds of important places. In a recent court case in the United States, a judge required intervenors claiming to represent the public interest to disclose whether they had been funded by Google. They had. And the Google Transparency Project, run by the non-profit Campaign for Accountability, and The Wall Street Journal have publicized the extravagant number of intellectual property law academics funded by Google in Europe and the Americas. According to the Journal’s reporting, for instance, Google has provided financing for hundreds of research papers defending it from regulatory incursion or other costs.
So this is the alarming situation we face now. Google’s power and money are being deployed to promote views and sometimes even misinformation that benefit Google through a wide network of academics, lawyers and advocacy groups. Yet Google is an organization that does nothing so much as broker information. Is it wise or proper to allow any company to purchase its own terms for the integrity with which it treats others’ information?