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Google is Coming After Critics in Academia and Journalism. It’s time To Stop Them


Google is Coming After Critics in Academia and Journalism. It’s time To Stop Them

Zephyr Teachout

About 10 years ago, Tim Wu, the Columbia Law professor who coined the term network neutrality, made this prescient comment: “To love Google, you have to be a little bit of a monarchist, you have to have faith in the way people traditionally felt about the king.”

Wu was right. And now, Google has established a pattern of lobbying and threatening to acquire power. It has reached a dangerous point common to many monarchs: The moment where it no longer wants to allow dissent.


Not only is her first name Zephyr, her last is Teachout? Is this correct?


Yes. Her parents were old-school hippies. Is this the first time you’ve heard of her? She ran as a progressive independent for governor and US congress in New York in recent years.


Sounds remotely familiar, but yeah, I’m unfamiliar with her.


Dear Zephyr,

Two points:

  1. Please call them by the right name, Google is not a “monarchal” or “despotic” it is monopolist-capitalist - which is just one of the fully-predictable outcomes of capitalism.

  2. If you are such a “progressive”, why the hell are you a Fellow of this “New America” which is a (so-called) “libertarian” “free-market”, and “property rights” think tank funded by the likes of not just Google, but Bloomberg and Charles Koch???


Former admirer


A good point. While this article is focusing on Google (very rightly so), the other side of the coin is that most academics and higher education institutions in the US are very subservient to corporate money and interests. These five people maybe some sort of an exception…but the majority would not risk funding for principles. And most universities have all sorts of beneficial contracts with all sorts of software corporations. That’s the big sad story.


My main point is that it gets the funders it does because of the “free market” policies it promotes - not vice-versa. I had presumed that Ms. Teachout was a social-democrat and would not have been part of such an organization.


Are you thinking of America’s Future Foundation instead of the New America Foundation?

Whereas AFF has strong ties to the Koch brothers, NAF doesn’t.

From what the NAF’s financial reports for 2015 and 2016 says, Charles Koch contributed between $100K and $249K in 2016 only. Likewise for Bloomberg. That’s out of $38M in revenue.

Bernie Saunders whole-heartedly endorses her. That’s pretty good for me. I’ve just D/L’ed two of her papers. At first sniff, they don’t sound libertarian at all. They’ll be interesting reading.


Google should probably be broken up and there are a few other such large companies. Google and Facebook are both data collection companies and therefore raise serious privacy concerns, Facebook probably even more so than Google. All of these companies are seriously understaffed in order to make excessive profits. They often rely on algorithms for tasks only humans can do well. This is the primary reason that Facebook’s news feed is full of fake news. The algorithms cannot distinguish between fake news and real news but real human editors are very good at it. Even Twitter is now relying more on algorithms which means it will pose the same problem for democracy as Facebook does. The big Silicon Valley companies have been compromised by greed. Because of their involvement with so much information they are very dangerous and Congress does need to act.


Teachout is very progressive, I don’t see how she could be accused of being a libertarian. She would probably make an excellent member of Congress if she ever ran in an election that she had a good chance of winning. I would expect her to try again.


In response to Google (Evil) and associated “First Draft Coalition[s]”:

StartPage: The World’s Most Private Search Engine

StartMail: Privacy is a Basic Human Right


I meant New America Foundation. But I do stand corrected and chastened. The division on “property rights” set off all kinds of alarm bells in me - but further reading shows that by “property rights” they mean “land to the tiller” and “squatter’s rights” type programs - notably in the developing world. I’m all for that kind of “property rights”!

Maybe Koch was confused too.

I’d delete my comment but it is past the time limit. But I did flag it.


Of course Google is doing this. Expect nothing different.


Hip, hip,hooray! The journalist Barry C. Lynn, the Open Markets team and Zephyr Teachout (article’s writer) are true heroes. It is an inherent risk for an academic, research or public-interest entity to expose and denounce certain practices of one of, especially, its major funders.


Another way we can respond is to not use Google Chrome. I’ve refused to use it since its inception; and, I don’t think that my browsing capabilities have been hampered by that decision. The less Google knows about me, the better.


Excellent recommendation.



While I identify and sympathize with the sentiment you expressed, what information that is harvestable about us will not be thwarted by not using Chrome. I have a Microsoft Windows computer, and when I turn it on, what does it greet me with?

Welcome (insert name here).

Tells ya right up front who’s in charge of “your” data.


Zephyr did do fairly well in NY-19 congressional race last year, and should have done much better, but was defeated in a real old-school Red-baiting attack by a very standard issue Republican lobbyist, John Faso. He received much outside money and painted her as (God forbid!) a professor and publicized her endorsement by the minuscule communist party down in NYC - a party consisting of about three senior citizens. Since being elected, Faso has been almost totally absent from public view. Our neighboring Dem congressman had to come in and run a town meeting in Faso’s name! And in the winter a group of locals had to go to his house in Kinderhook and beg him to come out on the porch and talk to them - just to make sure he was still conscious!

All that said, Zephyr really had no roots here in upstate rural NY 19 and that hurt her. Unfortunately, our local Dems have not fielded a strong candidate with real roots here since Kirsten Gillibrand.


The problem is that foundations are slaves to their funders. As long as they take corporate money, they are subject to corporate blackmail. Truly progressive organizations, including foundations, need to develop the “Sanders” fundraising model of contributions, subscriptions and dues from people – not the rich and corporations. You are what you eat.


I don’t know which Windows OS you are using; but, most Windows installations require that you enter your name during installation. That’s likely how Microsoft is able to give you such a nice welcome.

I’m not saying that no company will be collecting some of your browsing info; just that Google won’t be. That’s sufficient for me. I don’t like that company’s policies regarding user data; never have; and, never will. Therefore, I’ve boycotted them as much as possible from day one. I don’t have the same attitude toward Mozilla and some other browser providers. But, having worked in the software industry for a good many years, when some company wants to gain any amount of control over me/my devices, I tend to look for ways to avoid them.

I’ve disabled cookies, enabled tracking protection, and my browsing history is not saved. That’s sometimes a problem with some sites that want to store cookies; but, I’m able to determine whether I want to temporarily enable them for that particular site.

I’m starting to wonder also about Kaspersky’s intentions. I tried their Total Security product for 30 days to see if that’s what I wanted to install on a friends PC; and, once I uninstalled it, there are all sorts of remnants of the product still functioning on my laptop,to the point that I"m about to wipe the drive and reinstall.