[discuss] [bestbits] Shoshanna Zuboff: Dark Google

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Sat May 3 10:16:13 UTC 2014





From: evanleibovitch at gmail.com [mailto:evanleibovitch at gmail.com] On Behalf Of Evan Leibovitch
Sent: Saturday, May 03, 2014 10:48 AM
To: Michael Gurstein
Cc: 1Net List; Nick Ashton-Hart
Subject: Re: [discuss] [bestbits] Shoshanna Zuboff: Dark Google


+1 Nick 

Michael, the paper you sent (BTW, really bad form to copy the whole thing rather than providing a link, for far more reasons than mobile devices) strikes me as a backgrounder. 

[MG>] List cultures vary… some require full articles, some require links… I simply forwarded an article from another list (predominantly techie BTW) as I received it…


Its relevance *here* strikes me as peripheral unless you wish to argue that Google is not a legitimate stakeholder.

[MG>] The relevance is to put the overall issue of what Multistakeholderism means in its larger geo-political context.  Refusing to recognize that there is such a context is a weakness not a strength IMHO and feeds directly into a passive acceptance of what might in fact be a significantly destructive status quo—as I believe the CEO of Springer was trying to point out.


If not that, then what is the action point you wish to raise *here* as result of the piece. "Fear Google" is in itself insufficient IMO, but I genuinely want to know how you would have this group react. 

[MG>] I would genuinely like to see a critical discussion of MSism in its larger context and including its broader political and other significance.  The notion of “democratic” multistakeholder processes was introduced in the NetMundial Outcome document and I would be very interested for example, to hear the reaction to this from some of those with a deep experience with MS processes in the technical spheres… Is a “democratic” MS process possible, what might it look like, what special supportive mechanisms/safeguards might it require and so on.  These are significant and important questions which any serious discussion of MSism should include at this stage even in the absence of the quite profound (and disturbing critiques) from Zuboff and Dopfner.

Netmundial, arguably a significant 1Net milestone, demonstrated that it is possible to include very large, very invasive and very fear-worthy actors in the process. 

[MG>] Yes perhaps, but NetMundial as everyone I think agrees was a “pilot” where everyone was on their best behavior and where the stakes for most participants were quite low—hardly the case for what Zuboff and Dopfner are pointing to. Also, while “democratic MS processes” were a noted anticipated outcome of NM, they were most certainly not visible as an input to NM. So using NM as a model in the way you (and others) are attempting to do is somewhat beside the (larger) point.

Furthermore, in a rough consensus model, no one player has a veto.

[MG>] Again the point of Zuboff and Dopfner is that a dominant player (in this case Google but it could also be the USG or the NSA or Amazon etc.) is quite likely to control a considerable portion of the resource which may be under discussion.  So while the principle of “rough consensus” may be invoked, in practice the dominant player will most certainly retain a veto. In any MS discussion/process on the role of,  for example “search” where Google sits at the table, to think that they don’t have some sort of veto power is to my mind naïve in the extreme.

Are you suggesting that Google requires different treatment? 

[MG>] No. But I am suggesting that dominant forces whether they are governmental or corporate do need to be recognized as having extraordinary power/influence and in discussing/assessing MSism to not recognize this is to respond to a hurricane as though it were a summer breeze.


On May 3, 2014 5:00 AM, "michael gurstein" <gurstein at gmail.com> wrote:


I would have thought putting these discussions into an appropriate, current
and larger context would be a quite reasonable addition--although clearly
uncomfortable for some.

But yes, apologies to those following on mobiles.


-----Original Message-----
From: Nick Ashton-Hart [mailto:nashton at internet-ecosystem.org]
Sent: Saturday, May 03, 2014 9:37 AM
To: michael gurstein
Cc: discuss at 1net.org List
Subject: Re: [bestbits] Shoshanna Zuboff: Dark Google

- all the double posting.

Michael, I'm a European, and in addition I actually live in Europe. What's
roiling Europe right now is the Ukraine crisis - not this stuff.

Could I ask - once again - that we try to keep /1net discussions focussed
how to collaborate on issues where there's a possibility of (1) all
communities actually seeing there is an issue, and (2) through dialogue
agreeing on some common points about that issue?

I think I'm on very safe ground in saying that this entire meme does not
meet either of those conditions.

Could I also ask that entire long articles from publications not be copied
wholesale into list correspondence? While I am not, some people are paying
for mobile access to this list, and this simply increases their costs and
downloading time for communications. A link should suffice.

On 3 May 2014, at 09:55, michael gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com> wrote:

> This discussion is currently roiling Europe and beyond.
> The discussion and Zuboff's analysis has very significant implications for
the matters of Multistakeholder governance which are currently being
triumphantly trumpeted in these contexts and beyond. The issues that Zuboff
is pointing to with specific reference to Google and surveillance underlie
the drive to include companies like Google and others directly in decision
making through multistakeholder processes/Internet Governance.
> It hardly takes a huge flight of imagination to recognize the signals
concerning the extreme danger that MSism represents in the context of
Zuboff's arguments i.e. giving Google (et al) effective veto power over and
a highly influential (and potentially unstoppable role in) decision making
in areas key to controlling what Zuboff calls "the rise of absolute power".
> (And for the Multistakeholderists among us here is a critical response
> from a former senior employee of another Silicon Valley corporate
> giant--Yahoo
> https://www.facebook.com/benjaminbratton/posts/10152082644097966?strea
> m_ref=10 )
> M
> -----Original Message-----
> From: liberationtech
> [mailto:liberationtech-bounces at lists.stanford.edu] On Behalf Of Yosem
> Companys
> Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2014 4:41 PM
> To: Liberation Technologies
> Subject: [liberationtech] Shoshanna Zuboff: Dark Google

<Snip> the rest of a gigantically long reproduction of an article.


Nick Ashton-Hart
Executive Director, Internet & Digital Ecosystem Alliance (IDEA)
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