@amassembly Astroturf “Study” a Case Study for How Google Launders Money

If you read the Notice and Takedown in Everyday Practice “study” that was at the center of the controversy over the attack on the Copyright Office comment page on regulations.gov, you’ll greatly appreciate the irony in this clear and concise acknowledgement (at p. iv) of exactly how Google launders money through real or created nonprofits to produce “studies” that appear to be academic and objective.  You know…astroturf:

This work would not have been possible without both data and funding resources for the coding effort. We thank Adam Holland [of the Google-funded Berkman Center] and [former lawyer for Google-funded EFF] Wendy Seltzer of [Google-funded] Lumen (formerly Chilling Effects) for facilitating access to the Lumen data, which [is 99.4% Google data] forms the basis for our quantitative work. We are grateful for funding support from Google Inc. as a gift to The American Assembly and from the Sloan Foundation for its support through the Berkeley Law Digital Library Copyright Project.

If you have any questions about the extent of Google’s influence, I highly recommend the excellent Public Citizen report (which is not astroturf) “Mission Creep-y: Google is Quietly Becoming One of the Nation’s Most Power Political Forces While Expanding Its Information Collection Empire.”

We expect that Google will run its money through the EFF, the various Samuelson-Glushko forward operating bases around the world, but it is a surprise that the venerable American Assembly (founded by President Eisenhower–Mr. Military Industrial Complex himself) would allow itself to be manipulated by corporate interests to such a degree.

Unfortunately for the American Assembly, they are the perfect target for astroturfing by defense contractors like Google.  It sure looks like somebody or maybe several somebodies decided to shill for Google.  Easy explanation?  When Google was asked to buy “the American Assembly,” somebody must have thought they meant the Congress of the United States political science education being what it is with STEM workers in Silicon Valley.

Maybe they’ll rename Boston Dynamics something suitably semiotically Goo-Goo-Googlely like “Porridge”.