When you tell an establishment Democrat that Google’s hiding and removal of content is a dangerous form of censorship, they often magically transform into Ayn Rand right before your eyes.

“It’s a private company and they can do what they like with their property,” they will tell you. “It’s insane to say that a private company regulating its own affairs is the same as government censorship!”

This is absurd on its surface, because Google is not separate from the government in any meaningful way. It has been financially intertwined with US intelligence agencies since its very inception when it received research grants from the CIA and NSA for mass surveillance, pours massive amounts of money into federal lobbying and DC think tanks, has a cozy relationship with the NSA and multiple defense contracts.

“Some of Google’s partnerships with the intelligence community are so close and cooperative, and have been going on for so long, that it’s not easy to discern where Google Inc ends and government spook operations begin,” wrote journalist Yasha Levine in a 2014 Pando Daily article titled “Oakland emails give another glimpse into the Google-Military-Surveillance Complex“.

“The purchase of Keyhole was a major milestone for Google, marking the moment the company stopped being a purely consumer-facing Internet company and began integrating with the US government,” Levine wrote in a recent blog post about his book Surveillance Valley. “While Google’s public relations team did its best to keep the company wrapped in a false aura of geeky altruism, company executives pursued an aggressive strategy to become the Lockheed Martin of the Internet Age.”

And now we learn from Gizmodo that Google has also been helping with AI for the Pentagon’s drone program.

A Google spokesperson reportedly told Gizmodo that the innovations it is bringing to the Defense Department’s Project Maven are “for non-offensive uses only,” which is kind of like saying the beer kegs you delivered to the frat house are for “non-intoxicating use only.” The DoD and its drone program exist to find and kill enemies of the US empire, and Google will be helping them do it.

“The department announced last year that the AI initiative, just over six months after being announced, was used by intelligence analysts for drone strikes against ISIS in an undisclosed location in the Middle East,” reports The Intercept on this story.

Google is not any more separable from the US government than Lockheed Martin or Raytheon are, yet it has been given an unprecedented degree of authority over human speech and the way people communicate and share information. Would you feel comfortable allowing Northrop Grumman or Boeing to determine what political speech is permissible and giving them the authority to remove political Youtube content and hide leftist and anti-establishment outlets from visibility like Google does?

How is this a thing? How is it considered acceptable for a force which has intimately interwoven itself with government power to censor and manipulate political speech in ways the official government would never be allowed to?

The notion that Google is a private company, separate from the government and thus unburdened by obligations of free speech, is not a legitimate one. You don’t get to create a power system where money translates directly into political influence and privatization creates symbiotic relationships between corporations and government agencies, create a beefed up Silicon Valley giant with research grants and contracts to prevent any competition from ever having a chance against it, involve that Silicon Valley giant in the agendas of the US war machine after you’ve helped it dominate the globe, and then legitimately claim it’s just a poor widdle private business that shouldn’t be subject to the legal limitations placed on the US government.

If you believe the government shouldn’t be able to regulate speech, then there’s no legitimate reason to believe that Google should be, because Google is part of the government. You shouldn’t want there to be a loophole where government power can get around constitutional restrictions on its ability to silence dissent by funneling all speech into institutions it created and collaborates with and then quash anti-establishment voices under the pretense of protecting the public from “fake news” and “Russian propaganda”.

There needs to be some sort of measure in place which protects the public from such manipulations. Either remove corporate power from government power or acknowledge that they are fully meshed and expand constitutional protections to the users of any media giant which has enmeshed itself in government power. Pretending corporate power and government power are separate when they are not while exploiting that inseparable symbiosis to silence political dissent is not acceptable.

Government should be a tool of the people to help the people, not a tool of the powerful to oppress and exploit the people. Something’s going to have to change, and we’re going to have to stop asking nicely.



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7 responses to “Tell Me More About How Google Isn’t Part Of The Government And Can Therefore Censor Whoever It Wants?”

  1. The Overlords figured out some time ago that operating under the constraints of having FOIA requests suddenly pop up in the middle of their typical shenanigans simply would not do. They therefore initiated the privatization of all dirty, rotten and unconstitutional deeds to the corporate sector over which they maintain total control. After all, whatever apparent dot com billionaires want to do with “their own” company is their own business, right?

    As in all things, simply follow the money. What’s it worth for “our government” to store our own digital information in massive, privately owned facilities which operate outside the reach of FOIA or even Justice Department or Congressional reach? Suddenly everything is a national security issue with access limited to certain unnamed persons always operating behind the curtains. Seen a good budget lately? Seen a good black budget lately?


  2. Westcoastdeplorable Avatar

    Google=CIA and that’s all you need to know. Oh, and that Google owns Youtube.

  3. Google got its training in censoring content when it made concessions to the Chinese in order to set themselves up in the Chinese market. They took a lot of criticism for this, but went on censoring and explaining it away as a democratizing tool despite their anti-democratic cow-towing to the Chinese so searches for, say, ‘Tiannamen Square’ would take you to tourist destinations and hotel sites and never to sites about the riots there.

    This was also right around the time they dropped their ‘Don’t Be Evil’ slogan, ironically enough.

  4. I just Googled “Caitlin Johnstone” and I got Error 404!



  5. Carolyn Zaremba Avatar
    Carolyn Zaremba

    The World Socialist Web Site has been writing about this since last year. We had a video of a discussion between David North of the Socialist Equality Party and Chris Hedges. The articles and videos are available at http://www.wsws.org. I highly recommend these.

  6. Harry S. Nydick Avatar
    Harry S. Nydick

    Have been skeptical of Google for quite some time. That’s why I do no searches of significance on my Android-based cell phone, but restrict them – and who might see them – to my desktop device. Privacy is a long-standing joke at Google.
    I also use several search engines, with Google the one of last resort.
    However, I do appreciate this article, Caity, for it confirms what I have suspected for something like a decade, or so.

  7. Yes, the google magic was well at work during the 2008 election and in all honesty why Clinton didn’t cry “Election interference” is beyond me…oh, wait I know she traded for Sec of State and a promise of “breaking the next glass ceiling” when Obama was done, (sorry I digress back to the issue at hand.) The 2008 election: Patient Dumping at the hands of the soon to be FLOTUS, Collecting on the indigent patients of Cook County and University of Chicago Hospitals by the law firm that M. Obama worked for prior to leaving law to the tune of $20+ Million over a three year period and paid for/approved by M. Obama when she was the Vice President of the board – University of Chicago Hospitals. How about the approval to allow medical bills to be included in credit reports by the three biggest hospital organizations, or the goal of the governor of Illinois who was ready to put into place Universal Health Care for Illinois Residence? You see everything I shared here was once front and center on Google search engines. Each of these issues could have stopped POTUS 2008-2016’s legacy ACA in its tracks. Yes, there was election interference in 2008. Maybe Clinton learned from the master of manipulation. Go ahead search what I am talking about…it isn’t anywhere online. If I hadn’t seen it, read it, researched in back in 2007 I would not have believed it possible either.

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