Why we can’t regulate Google, etc:

Because of useful idiots like @conservancy legitimising them by being sponsored by them.

Me: Google is a surveillance capitalist that makes billions tracking and profiling you. They are a threat to our human rights and democracy. We just regulate them.

Policymaker: you must be mistaken, they’re the good guys. Look, here they are allowed to sponsor CopyLeft Conf with the FSF logo displayed proudly next to theirs.

@aral Any statements or feedback on that by @conservancy or Free Software Foundation? At the very least for the latter this doesn't really seem desirable at all...

@aral @conservancy
Well, in this case, this is just totally false reasoning by the policymaker. He should not make any assumptions about a company based on the events they sponsor. Ever.

@stevenroose @conservancy Not based on the events they sponsor. Based on the events/groups that will allow them to sponsor. HealthConf sponsored by Philip Morris. EnvironmentConf sponsored by Exxon Mobil., etc. If those events/groups have legitimacy, they end up legitimising those companies.

@aral @conservancy Another strange assumption. That events/groups filter their sponsors based on their merit. Sponsors are supposed to give you money in return for publicity. Period.
Having a company sponsor should *in no way* be considered a agreement with their actions.

@stevenroose I still feel a bit lost here, especially seeing companies like Google pop up as re-occurring sponsors for FSF(E) or GNOME Foundation as well. Is it *all* just whitewashing then? Is it a sign that even large entities with pretty much disputable business approaches might support "ethical" things as well? Or is it a sign that most of #SoftwareLibre and #FLOSS, despite all idealism, still has a great funding issue?

@aral @conservancy

@stevenroose @conservancy Yes, it’s a strange assumption that money is influence. So strange that a strange man called Lawrence Lessig coined the term “institutional corruption” to describe it and then, strangely, went on to briefly run for president in the US on this single issue to raise awareness about it.

Honestly, I’m baffled that otherwise intelligent people in our industry have such a hard time understanding corruption and legitimisation.

@jpf @conservancy Sadly, not extraordinary at all (it should be); you might even say it’s the norm (see Mozilla/Google, RightsCon/Google/Facebook, Amsterdam Privacy Week/Palantir/Google/Facebook, etc.)

@aral @conservancy If the world would be black and white only, there still is a difference between them.

Taking Googles money can lead to institutional corruption, yes.
Definitely can.

This needs two!

Why not assume integrity on's side?

@0xD @conservancy For the same reason I wouldn’t trust Greenpeace on the environment if it was sponsored by Exxon Mobil or, for that reason, why I don’t trust Mozilla on privacy and human rights when they get hundreds of millions of dollars from Google and other surveillance capitalists.

Integrity isn’t something you assume about an organisation, it’s something they demonstrate by not engaging in bullshit like this.

@aral @conservancy Does this mean that Microsoft will be releasing Azure under AGPL ?

@Shamar @bob @aral @conservancy i think that should lay open the concessions they have to make for Google etc - yes Transparency

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