Being evil: the firing of a Google critic

The New America Foundation reportedly fired senior fellow Barry Lynn after he was critical of Google's market dominance. Lynn says he believes Google's top executives pressured the influential think tank to fire him 

Being evil: the firing of a Google critic

"People are so afraid of Google now", Lynn added. Lynn's article subsequently disappeared from the site, only to be later posted once again. But she denied his termination had anything to do with Google throwing its weight around.

Sarah Miller, a spokeswoman for the newly independent Open Markets group, said in an interview that Lynn's 10-person team had been told two days after the public statement on the EC's fine to resign within two months.

"Today's New York Times story alleges that Google lobbied New America to expel the Open Markets program because of this press release", Slaughter wrote.

In a Wednesday statement, Slaughter disputed one of Lynn's key claims.

"New America financial supporters have no influence or control over the research design, methodology, analysis or findings of New America research projects, nor do they have influence or control over the content of educational programs and communications efforts", Mariani said.

"We support hundreds of organizations that promote a free and open Internet, greater access to information, and increased opportunity", Google's Riva Sciuto told Ars by e-mail.

"We don't agree with every group 100 percent of the time, and while we sometimes respectfully disagree, we respect each group's independence, personnel decisions and policy perspectives", she told The Times.

The sequence of events is circumstantial but highly suspicious, because Google's attempts to influence policy and regulation are far from secret. He was also a featured guest at New America's Future of War conference in March.

Lynn worked as a senior fellow at Washington think tank the New America Foundation and had spent years studying the quick growing power of tech companies like Facebook and Google

But in a prior email, Slaughter had clearly raised concerns about Lynn's work's potential effects on the think tank's relationship with Google, which has given New America more than $21 million. "Just THINK about how you are imperiling funding for others".

The Open Markets group led by Lynn contains numerous most respected voices in an increasingly prominent discussion about technology and telecom monopolies, and its findings about corporate consolidation and monopolistic power have been extremely influential in turning antitrust into an important policy issue - to the extent that the Democratic Party has included stricter antitrust regulation as a plank in its platform for 2018. "When we criticized Google for its monopoly practices, our program's funding was cut", the website states on its homepage. "It is a really heavy-handed move by Google and in some way proves the point that Open Markets has been trying to make and has made successfully, which is that the problem with monopolies is not merely economic it is that they form into a political power themselves and as Lord Acton said, power corrupts".

But for Matt Stoller, up until very recently the most vocal member of the Open Markets team, there's a significant upshot to getting the boot.

Back to the EU's fine against Google: The company reportedly turned in its response Tuesday, the deadline to detail its proposal to end the behavior that the regulators found to violate antitrust law.

"Google's monopoly over search is not just a threat to edge innovation". In 2009, the company apologized for urging a charity to cease funding a consumer advocacy group that had been critical of the search giant.

But on Wednesday, New America pushed back on the claim Google forced its hand on firing the Open Markets team.

The friction comes at a precarious time for Google.

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