[discuss] [bestbits] Shoshanna Zuboff: Dark Google

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Tue May 6 17:28:40 UTC 2014

On 6 May 2014 08:09, michael gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com> wrote:

> The piece from Springer as I read it, wasn’t, at least overtly, concerned
> with the copyright issue.

No, but the comment speaks to the company's long-standing grudge against
Google. So when you appeal to the gravitas of Springer as somehow being
relevant to the authenticity (let alone relevance) of its claims,
Springer's backstory with Google -- and this its subjective motivations --
also becomes relevant.

What is becoming clear in most non-ideological (or self-interest) distorted
> analyses is that the Internet provides opportunities for global monopolies
> (and all of the distortions and inequities which are the result) and that
> if Internet Governance doesn’t deal with these then national governments in
> their various localized wisdoms most certainly will.

I have no idea why you speak of this in the future tense. This is already
happening. Or are the "great firewall of China", recent moves by Turkey to
throttle Twitter, or even screwing with the DNS to implement DMCA
"takedowns" in the US just myth?

I think most participants here are aware that Google is large, pervasive,
and is itself into surveillance of personal information as a core business
model. It needs be watched and regulated, and be the focus of as much
attention regarding data abuse as any state; we didn't need Springer's
fear-mongering to tell us that. However, Google is also a legitimate
stakeholder, a recognized innovator, and one of the builders of the
Infrastructure that makes the Internet useful to many.

Sure, we must not be complacent, aware that even companies that strive to
"do no harm" exist to maximize value to their shareholders as a primary
goal. We have also seen that every tech company that has historically been
feared to be a pervasive monopoly eventually gives way to disruptive
upstarts. Just as important as keeping an eye on the behemoth companies is
nurturing the kind of environment that enables some future effort to do to
Google what Google itself did to Microsoft's seeming impenetrable monopoly.

The issue IMO is not whether local governments have the authority to
regulate the Internet (and companies such as Google) within their borders;
they clearly do. The issue is to demonstrate and promote that it is in
their joint national interests to have a free and open Internet, and come
as close as we can to a treaty or sign-on convention that points them in
that direction. Such openness, and the resulting atmosphere of innovation,
is as necessary a check on the excesses of Google (or any other player) as
much as any state regulation.

- Evan
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