Meanwhile in Europe Is Google Attempting to Hack the EU Parliament with Robo Calls, Emails and Fake News?

 

 

Think it’s a coincidence that Google’s search algorithm returns exclusively negative or outright fake news on EU proposed copyright revisions? 

Google is the first imperialist power of the 21st century.  It has no qualms about subverting democratic processes whenever those processes threaten it’s profits.  Most of the time we see these power grabs in the US.  For instance Google used stolen emails to derail a Mississippi State investigation into it’s advertising practices. Most recently Google used it’s pet Senator (Ron Wyden) to try to derail an anti child sex trafficking bill. Wyden was one of only two Senators to oppose the overwhelmingly popular bill.  WTF right?  Makes you wonder what they have on him.

There are so many cases of Google strong arming government officials it would take fifty pages to list them all.  Suffice it to say that in almost all these cases Google upends the democratic processes when government actions in some small way threaten googles internet advertising and web hosting businesses.  From Google’s perspective it makes sense as Google is willing to monetizes any and all web traffic with no oversight, and with no regard to how abhorrent that traffic may be. Google does not give a shit that it may be enabling child prostitution rings, the opioid crisis, or radicalizing lone wolf terrorists.  Any regulation that requires even minimal oversight and might cut into Google’s $110 billion yearly profit(profit not revenue) is attacked by Googles vast network of lobbyists, astroturf groups, google-funded think tanks, paid bloggers, and academics.

The last few years we have seen Google turn their efforts towards subverting democratic processes outside the US.  In some ways they have been more effective in places like EU where they are unaccustomed to the kind of subversive political/academic/NGO practices honed by Big Tobacco.  In the U.S. we have been partially inoculated. Europeans fall hook line and sinker for this shit.

Case in point.

The EU parliament legal affairs committee recemt;u voted to approve a new copyright directive  giving authors, performers and songwriters much more control over how their work appears online. The directive would require online platforms to pro-actively manage their platforms so that creators could decide when and if their content appears on digital platforms and under what financial terms.

This does not make Google/YouTube very happy because currently they enjoy an massive subsidy from creators because they essentially use whatever they want  whenever they want. As usual they claim that it is their “users” who are doing the infringing. Not Google. Never mind that Google is making billions slinging ads against all this unlicensed content.

As the directive comes up for a vote in the full parliament, I now see Google deploying the exact same tactics against the Copyright Directive that they have used against copyright measures in the United States.  For the EU readers let me give you some examples from the US and you can tell me if you see similarities in their attack on the copyright directive in EU.

Fake grassroots organizations.  In the U.S. Google has consistently used  groups like Fight For The Future.   Fight For The Future purports to be a grassroots organization but it is actually run by a Google lobbyist. Despite claiming to have millions of followers, when they tried to stage a protest in San Francisco before a copyright roundtable they couldn’t get a single real individual to show up. Astroturf.  Fake.

https://thetrichordist.com/2016/05/13/astroturf-fight-for-the-future-is-toast-anti-copyright-protest-gets-9-rsvps-on-facebook/

Twitter bots:   During the last round of Copyright Office hearings on safe harbors we observed that the vast majority of tweets against copyright reform were coming from anonymous accounts that were only active when copyright issues were being considered. Fake.

Robo Emails/Comments: Fight for the Future the astroturf group run by Google lobbyist has repeatedly bombarded congress, and federal agencies with identical automated emails and comments. We demonstrated that the “tool” they provided from their website, didn’t verify identity; allowed users from outside US to vote; and allowed repeated voting by simply reloading page.

https://thetrichordist.com/2016/04/19/exactly-86000-identical-comments-the-illegal-comment-bombing-of-dmca-notice-takedown-review-by-google-proxy-fight-for-the-future/

Paid Academic Research.  This has got a lot of press in the US.  But basically Google has been paying academics that then produce papers that it uses to lobby US and EU governments.  Many of these papers are poorly researched and little more than opinion pieces.  See here:

https://googletransparencyproject.org/articles/google-academics-inc

Robo Calls/Boiler Rooms:  I was in a US Senate office in May when Fight For The Future was conducting a phone campaign on net neutrality.  If you go to the Fight For The Future website you are eventually prompted to put in your phone number and then an automated system rings a (your?) senator and connects your phone to the call.  The senate office can not verify your phone number, exchange or area code.  Net neutrality is extremely popular policy and even an astroturf group like FFTF should have no problem finding people to phone senators. However… Two staffers were handling phone calls right in the lobby, and I could hear the callers.  The Senator hails from a state in the deep south.  Yet not a single caller seemed to share the Senators accent. I mentioned this to the staffers. Their reply: “Yeah we think these are professionals.”  To  be clear.  I don’t know if these callers were part of the the Fight For The Future phone campaign.  But it was during this period.  And they certainly seemed to be reading from a similar script.

I just checked and these tools are still live.  I sent the email above despite the fact it’s a fake email address.  I then reloaded the page used my real email, phone number and zip code and I was able to place a call to congress.  Strangely I was connected to a random congressional office ( Not related to my phone number, IP location or the postal code.)  I told the polite staffer who answered the call that I was very concerned about Federal Emergency Management Agency using high altitude aircraft to spray mind altering chemicals on my hometown as it was producing strange behavior in my cats.  All twelve of them.  Poor staffers. ( I later identified myself and told the staffer I was conducting an experiment for a article I was writing).

I can almost guarantee you that Google is using the exact same techniques to overwhelm MEPs phones and emails at this very moment.

DON’T LET GOOGLE HACK YOUR DEMOCRACY!

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UPDATE

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In fact there is at least one of the web pages producing robo calls. This is from the Google proxy Open Rights.  I have not tested it but reports from readers is that it works and there is no limit on the number of calls. And email addresses are not verified.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Dr. David C Lowery

Platinum selling singer songwriter for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven; platinum selling producer; founder of pitch-a-tent records; founder Sound of Music Studios; platinum selling music publisher; angel investor; digital skeptic; college lecturer and founder of the University of Georgia Terry College Artists' Rights Symposium.