Do you think there should be checks on people wearing computers on their faces while driving? Feel like there should be some oversight on self-driving cars? How about limits on the ability of companies to collect and commercialize information about elementary school students?
As today’s front page Politico article explains, these are a few of the issue areas in which Google is lobbying state officials behind closed doors, hurting society’s ability to have a democratic conversation about major new questions of our day. And there’s likely more legislation being pushed by Google that we don’t know about.
Tony Romm’s article, “States of Play: Google’s political roots run deep at the local level to counter regulators on Google Glass, Fiber and self-driving cars,” adds to the crescendo of concern about Google’s growing, nontransparent political spending. In addition to Google’s position as a voracious vacuum of consumers’ personal information, it has become a major lobbying spender on the federal level, sitting at No. 2 among companies so far this year. And Romm notes that there’s a whole other realm of lobbying where Google is very active and far less than transparent about its activities: state and local governments.