[Marxism] New Scrutiny on Google

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Oct 1 13:12:54 MDT 2007

THE NATION (excerpt)
New Scrutiny on Google

So far, Google and the rest of the largest players in the interactive
advertising business have avoided the critical scrutiny necessary so
the public can be informed to begin asking such questions. This week,
however, the European Commission launches its inquiry of the
Google/DoubleClick merger; the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust
subcommittee held a hearing Thursday. The FTC is reviewing the deal,
with a decision expected by year's end.

One reason why there has been so little critical scrutiny of Google
is that it has been the leading corporate supporter for such key
media reform goals as network neutrality and open access to wireless
spectrum. But while seemingly on the side of the public interest,
Google has taken such positions for its own reasons, principally to
expand its online advertising business (including ads delivered on
cell phones). Another reason why so few questions are being asked is
that policy-makers have failed to keep up with the fast-moving
changes transforming the interactive media marketplace.

Regardless of what happens to Google's planned expansion with
DoubleClick, fundamental questions about the role interactive
marketing and advertising play in shaping our new media world should
be raised. We are evolving into a new global society where the
corporate giants will be able to deliver personalized commercials on
an array of platforms. Much of interactive marketing is designed to
work in an under-the-radar way, out of our conscious awareness (which
is why Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and the others oppose meaningful
consumer privacy rules). These electronic pitches will be generated
by advertisers, regardless of the consequences to the environment,
our values, and global economic disparities. Do we want a ubiquitous
data collection system where private repositories of sensitive
information can be sold to the highest commercial bidder--or turned
over to the state for its own political interests?

With the Internet and other online media holding such promise for
achieving diversity of expression, do we really want to find
ourselves beholden to a global few to underwrite the editorial
content essential for democracy? These are among the key concerns
that should be on a progressive agenda for this and future digital


Does Google Censor Cuba?
A number of services offered by the grand search engine are not available to
Cubans, and with no explanation given. Federal prohibitions enabling the US
blockade of the island could be the key to the mystery

By: Amaury E. del Valle

2007-09-29 | 10:53:34 EST

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