Advocacy groups urge Biden to keep big tech out of the White House

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2020
A collection of advocacy groups has called upon President-elect Joe Biden to prevent tech companies like Apple from influencing the administration, over accusations the tech giants are a threat to democracy in the United States.

Joe Biden [Via Wikipedia/Gage Skidmore, CC 2.0]
Joe Biden [Via Wikipedia/Gage Skidmore, CC 2.0]


Published on Monday, the joint letter from 33 groups urges Biden to "reject the influence" of "Big Tech" corporations by excluding "executives, lobbyists, lawyers, and consultants from your administration." The group also looks towards working with the administration "to address the harms posed by Big Tech."

Naming Apple alongside Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, the letter accuses the group of representing "serious threats to privacy, democracy, innovation, and Americans' economic well-being." The companies are all claimed to have "developed predatory business practices that harvest user data for profit," before asserting that Facebook and Google "irresponsibly wield immense influence over democratic elections, without oversight or accountability."

"Despite the myth that Silicon Valley is rife with entrepreneurs and small businesses capable of disrupting entire industries, these companies have killed, rather than fostered innovation," the letter continues, before accusing Amazon of taking advantage of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic by "tripling their profits on price-gouged essential goods."

The group insists the Biden Administration must "confront the threats" posed by the companies, "however we can only bring these companies to account if you do not rely on affiliates of these very companies to make up your government." Existing efforts to influence Washington are highlighted, including increased lobbying and campaign spending, with Facebook and Amazon each said to be spending "more on lobbying than any other company in the country."

The "tide is turning" according to the group, citing a Pew Research Center poll showing almost half of Americans want tech companies to be more regulated, as well as the House Antitrust Subcommittee's investigation into tech companies, and the US Justice Department's antitrust lawsuit against Google.

"We believe that eliminating the decades-old revolving door between Silicon Valley and your administration will only help your cause," the letter concludes.

The letter is signed by groups including Public Citizen, Demand Progress Education Fund, the American Economic Liberties Project, the Awood Center, Future of Music Coalition, the Progressive Democrats of America, and Take on Wall Street.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,090member
    What’s the difference between advocacy groups and lobbyists? Get rid of lobbyists who pay off politicians but do the same with advocacy groups. Get money out of politics! 

    Everyone needs to be heard not just people who can afford it so stop blaming everything on people who don’t agree with you. 
    Japheyleavingthebiggwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 21
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    rob53 said:
    What’s the difference between advocacy groups and lobbyists? Get rid of lobbyists who pay off politicians but do the same with advocacy groups. Get money out of politics! 

    Everyone needs to be heard not just people who can afford it so stop blaming everything on people who don’t agree with you. 
    How do you expect anyone to be heard if everyone is speaking?
  • Reply 3 of 21
    Big tech is a threat to democracy... really? We are at the tail end of a completely bogus attack against the election process that has caused millions of gullible people to second guess the result of the election. Millions of American are disenfranchised by voter suppression and gerrymandering. The way former felons were treated in Florida against the will of the people is a national shame.  The USA is not a functioning democracy in many way, big tech is the least of its problems. 
    cpsrodysamorialarryjwOferleavingthebiggwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 21
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,090member
    crowley said:
    rob53 said:
    What’s the difference between advocacy groups and lobbyists? Get rid of lobbyists who pay off politicians but do the same with advocacy groups. Get money out of politics! 

    Everyone needs to be heard not just people who can afford it so stop blaming everything on people who don’t agree with you. 
    How do you expect anyone to be heard if everyone is speaking?
    Everyone should have the opportunity to speak. Right now, only those who pay off politicians are allowed to speak. Which way is actual democracy? 
    tokyojimudysamoriamuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 21
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,531member
    A collection of advocacy groups has called upon President-elect Joe Biden to prevent tech companies like Apple from influencing the administration, over accusations the tech giants are a threat to democracy in the United States.
    So basically, it's groups trying to influence the government to prevent influencing of the government. Uh huh
    edited December 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 21
    Technology has improved our lives in so many ways. Where would we be without smart phones, personal computers, iPads, the Internet, WiFi, Cellular technologies, etc. etc. etc.  

    On the other hand, ridding our country of these so-called advocacy groups would be plus. 

    Our government should partner with our big tech companies to promote American business, increase employment opportunities, etc. 

    Other countries seem to understand that aiding and abetting their own companies is in their best interests. Our Democrats appear not to get it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 21
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    rob53 said:
    crowley said:
    rob53 said:
    What’s the difference between advocacy groups and lobbyists? Get rid of lobbyists who pay off politicians but do the same with advocacy groups. Get money out of politics! 

    Everyone needs to be heard not just people who can afford it so stop blaming everything on people who don’t agree with you. 
    How do you expect anyone to be heard if everyone is speaking?
    Everyone should have the opportunity to speak. Right now, only those who pay off politicians are allowed to speak. Which way is actual democracy? 
    350 million citizens should all have equal opportunity to speak, on an individual basis to their representatives in the US Federal Government?

    Do you really think that's practical or realistic?  Lobbyists and advocacy groups exist because it isn't.
  • Reply 8 of 21
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 453member
    As much of a cesspool as the Internet has become it still is the only way to exercise free space can that can be read/heard most anywhere in the world. I'll take the bad with the good as news can be spread quickly and crazy actions by all levels of the government, companies, and other countries can be seen by all.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 21
    Definitely exclude Facebook, maybe Google too. But not Apple, they’re the good guys. 
    jas99jeffharriswatto_cobraGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 10 of 21
    There IS a difference between being lobbied by an industry versus giving those same industry players positions in government. I think the main idea here is to give the jobs to people who have a proven track record as public servants. That makes for a more healthy check/balance between public and private interests than staffing the government with people who still view private interest as their #1 concern (like Ajit Pai or Wilbur Ross). 
    ronnOferwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 21
    It really annoys me that Apple gets lumped into these anti-trust discussions/allegations along with Facebook and Google. First of all, Apple is primarily a hardware company; they just also build the software and ecosystem that runs in their own hardware. The anti-trust allegations against Apple make no sense, as consumers have always had the option of using Windows and/or Android as well as other platforms. Apple wants control over the experience within their own ecosystem; I don't get how that equates to anti-trust or monopolistic practices. Facebook, Google, and Amazon, on the other hand, are really the only game in town for their respective fields. Facebook totally dominates social media, especially now that they own Instagram, WhatsApp, and other used-to-be-independent platforms. Google owns the search space (though I personally use DuckDuckGo).
    From Apple's point of view, their users are actual customers that they are trying to create products to sell to. In Google and Facebook's models, the users are the product being sold to advertisers. Google and Facebook aren't a search engine and social media platform respectively. They are advertising platforms, that use search histories and social media to create digital profiles of all their users that advertisers can use to target their products (99% of which is crap). We "users" have no real say in how our information is used; we don't get a vote. No one except the engineers at Google and Facebook get access to the algorithms they use or have a say in their design and implementation.
    Another major difference is that Apple has put customers' privacy and security at the foundation of everything they design and implement. Google, Facebook and Amazon have no such interest. In fact, they want us "users" to reveal as much about ourselves as possible to better optimize their algorithms for their purposes.
    In other words, the government(s) and the public are definitely right in being suspicious of Google/Facebook/Amazon's methods, intentions, and practices. And certainly Apple should adhere to proper legal and ethical standards, but they are not in the same area of concern as G/F/A... They are by no means a monopoly, and they are not playing fast and loose with customers' privacy and security.
    jas99OferDetnatorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 21
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,063member
    Apple’s lobbying expenditures dwarf the others, as does its data collection and retention. That Apple is lumped in with the others demonstrates successful diversion by the others, their users, and their investors.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    auxio said:
    A collection of advocacy groups has called upon President-elect Joe Biden to prevent tech companies like Apple from influencing the administration, over accusations the tech giants are a threat to democracy in the United States.
    So basically, it's groups trying to influence the government to prevent influencing of the government. Uh huh
    You’re equivocating. It’s not the same thing. One  group is using the democratic model of influence to stop the plutocratic model of influence.
    ronnOferwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 21
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member

    Wgkrueger said:
    Definitely exclude Facebook, maybe Google too. But not Apple, they’re the good guys. 
    Yeah, nothing in this article explains the group’s argument against Apple. None of the issues mentioned seem appropriate. Right now, my complaints with Apple have to do with their own internal culture and business practices that result in never fixing existing bugs, while introducing new ones that get added to the list for future refusal to fix.
    OferrandominternetpersonGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 15 of 21
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Tell Biden it will put many men in prison and they will be ON IT!!
  • Reply 16 of 21
    loopless said:
    Big tech is a threat to democracy... really? We are at the tail end of a completely bogus attack against the election process that has caused millions of gullible people to second guess the result of the election. Millions of American are disenfranchised by voter suppression and gerrymandering. The way former felons were treated in Florida against the will of the people is a national shame.  The USA is not a functioning democracy in many way, big tech is the least of its problems. 
    Give The Social Dilemma a watch.  These things aren't unrelated.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 21

    cpsro said:
    Apple’s lobbying expenditures dwarf the others, as does its data collection and retention. That Apple is lumped in with the others demonstrates successful diversion by the others, their users, and their investors.
    I assume you mean "are dwarfed by" rather than "dwarfs."
    watto_cobraronn
  • Reply 18 of 21
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    loopless said:
    Big tech is a threat to democracy... really? We are at the tail end of a completely bogus attack against the election process that has caused millions of gullible people to second guess the result of the election. Millions of American are disenfranchised by voter suppression and gerrymandering. The way former felons were treated in Florida against the will of the people is a national shame.  The USA is not a functioning democracy in many way, big tech is the least of its problems. 

    While everything you say is true, Social Media (part of big tech) has been and will be a threat to democracy by being used by unscrupulous characters to misuse the democratic process in order to gain power by misleading the people.

    The first indication was Cambridge Analytica enabling political operatives to finely target small groups to affect their emotions and beliefs.   Today that has become the new norm -- where specific groups are inundated with one sided political propaganda.   Yeh, you can blame dumbshits for not looking elsewhere -- but they are up against professional propagagandists whose goal is to keep them captive in the cult.  And those pros are very good at what they do.

    The next indication was Russia, led by its Internet Research Agency spreading disinformation to impact our election.   While their influence is well known and documented, their biggest success came by creating and propagating the PizzaGate scam.   They and other foreign actors will continue to use our freedom of speech and Social Media to attack our elections.   It will only be getting worse.

    And now we have political parties and politicians using social media to spread disinformation such as our elections are no longer valid and cannot be believed or trusted.  We can expect to see much more of that -- including doctored videos and pictures offering "proof" of their conspiracy theories

    ALL of which are very serious threats to our democracy.
    ronn
  • Reply 19 of 21
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    rob53 said:
    crowley said:
    rob53 said:
    What’s the difference between advocacy groups and lobbyists? Get rid of lobbyists who pay off politicians but do the same with advocacy groups. Get money out of politics! 

    Everyone needs to be heard not just people who can afford it so stop blaming everything on people who don’t agree with you. 
    How do you expect anyone to be heard if everyone is speaking?
    Everyone should have the opportunity to speak. Right now, only those who pay off politicians are allowed to speak. Which way is actual democracy? 

    Vladimir too?

    Or, if you think Vladimir is harmless, then how about whoever is leading ISIS right now?   Or maybe Saudi Arabia, Iran or China?

    Social media has been weaponized.  We know its been bad.   We know it will get worse.
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 20 of 21
    I’m getting the impression people don’t really understand who they voted for.
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