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Google critic takes on tech giants

 |  October 3, 2017

Posted by The Hill

Google critic takes on tech giants

By Harper Neidig

Barry Lynn has been pushing the government to crack down on corporate power for 16 years, but his ideas never received as much attention as when they cost him his job at a Google-sponsored think tank.

After parting ways with New America over the summer, Lynn has launched a new independent group to raise awareness about the threats posed by corporate giants.

Lawmakers are increasingly willing to confront tech leaders on a growing list of issues, and Lynn’s transition comes as authorities are investigating whether Russians used Google, Facebook and Twitter to sow division during last year’s election.

“I think people are understanding just how poorly structured these institutions are, how sloppily they were built,” Lynn tells The Hill. “It’s not just a matter of the fact that these people have too much power, it’s also that they are sloppy in the use of their power.”

Lynn’s argument found the spotlight in August, when The New York Times reported that he and his Open Markets team had been ousted from New America after clashing with Anne-Marie Slaughter, the think tank’s president. Slaughter was angry about a statement Lynn had issued praising the European Union’s decision to hit Google with a record $2.83 billion fine for antitrust violations.

According to the Times, Google, one of the think tank’s biggest funders, had complained to Slaughter about the statement, leading to her firing Lynn and his team of scholars. Slaughter has disputed the Times story, insisting that the decision to part ways with Open Markets had nothing to do with Google.

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