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Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

theodp (442580) writes | about 3 months ago


theodp (442580) writes ""The government is not the only American power whose motivations need to be rigourously examined," writes The Telegraph's Katherine Rushton. "Some 2,400 miles away from Washington, in Silicon Valley, Google is aggressively gaining power with little to keep it in check. It has cosied up to governments around the world so effectively that its chairman, Eric Schmidt, is a White House advisor. In Britain, its executives meet with ministers more than almost any other corporation. Google can't be blamed for this: one of its jobs is to lobby for laws that benefit its shareholders, but it is up to governments to push back. As things stand, Google — and to a lesser extent, Facebook — are in danger of becoming the architects of the law." Schmidt, by the way, is apparently interested in influencing at least two current hot-button White House issues. Joined by execs from Apple, Oracle, and Facebook, the Google Chairman asserted in a March letter to Secretary of State John Kerry that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is not in the economic interests of the U.S.; the Obama administration on Friday extended the review period on the pipeline, perhaps until after the Nov. 4 congressional elections. And as a "Major Contributor" to Mark Zuckerberg's PAC, Schmidt is also helping to shape public opinion on the White House's call for immigration reform; just launched new attack ads (videos) and a petition aimed at immigration reform opponent Rep. Steve King. In Dave Eggers' The Circle, politicians who impede the company execs' agenda are immediately brought down. But that's fiction, right?"

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1 comment

What's the motto again? (1)

shanen (462549) | about 3 months ago | (#46798399)

A few months ago I had dinner with an old acquaintance who had moved over to the google, and I realized their new motto is "All your attentions is belonging to the google."

I don't think it was in the original business plan to go evil, but it's just the way the game is played in America these days. In brief, the rules of the game are laws written by the most cheaply bribed politicians working for the greediest and least ethical businessman, and to heck with the rest of the businesspeople, the ones who just want to play fairly in accord with the rules. Much more profitable to rig the game.

Facebook is a different can of evil worms, and I think the evil was right there in their original business plan, or at least between the lines. The problem is that most people have so little understanding of real freedom. My current joke on that topic is this equation:

Freedom = (Meaningful + Unconstrained) Choice Beer

It isn't just your negative data that takes away your freedom. Of course you can be blackmailed pretty directly with secret knowledge of your mistakes and such. It's also your tastes, strengths, and even your virtues that can be used to manipulate you, but that's twistier because you just think you're doing what you want to do--until they yank your leash.

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