Here’s a shocker: Google-chaired think tank says Google’s No.1 for digital rights! How could it be, you say?
As Andrew Orlowski reports in The Register:
Just fancy that! A Washington think tank chaired by Eric Schmidt, Alphabet Inc’s executive chairman, has given Alphabet Inc. [née Google] an award for “protecting your digital rights”.
Schmidt became executive chairman of the New America Foundation, which had built a strong reputation as a non-partisan and imaginative policy think tank, in 2008. [Yes, that’s right…the Google in the machine.]
The following year, the foundation created an “Open Technology Initiative” and the think tank began to march in lockstep with Google’s own policy agenda.
This is called “policy laundering” – the act of legitimising a policy, or attempting to seize control of a debate, via third parties. Another useful description is “carousel propaganda”, coined by blogger Frank Fisher, an analogue of “carousel fraud”.
This week the foundation trumpeted the first results of its “Ranking Digital Rights” project. Coming up smelling of roses were Google, “the highest ranking internet company”….
This is particularly interesting given the results in another recent bit of policy laundering by Freedom House for which New America Foundation contributed heavily–more on that to come. As Orlowski notes:
Much of civil society marches to Google’s drum beat: the Washington Post documented Google’s cash flowing to 140 think tanks, civil society groups, and academics. In recent years civil society groups have pocketed millions in cash directly from the corporations they’re supposed to scrutinise.
To see just how much BS is involved with New America Foundation, read Orlowski’s eye-opening post.