Feeds

Obama urged to halt Google government takeover

Stop the revolving door

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Two consumer watchdogs - including the aptly-named Consumer Watchdog - have urged US President Barack Obama to avoid appointing Google's director of global public policy as the country's deputy chief technology officer.

According to various press reports, Obama is set to fill the new deputy CTO post with über-Googler Andrew McLaughlin, who took hold of the company's public-policy efforts roughly five years ago after a stint at ICANN.

Google has confirmed that McLaughlin has left the company. And Consumer Watchdog has joined the Center for Digital Democracy in firing a letter (PDF) at Obama, asking the leader of the free world to stop the appointment before it happens. With an executive order, Obama moved to destroy the revolving door between the executive branch and corporate lobbyists, and the growling watchdogs argue that a McLaughlin appointment would undermine those efforts.

"Mr. McLaughlin’s appointment, we believe, must be evaluated in the context of the strong ethical rules your administration has implemented to end the revolving door between lobbyists and the executive branch," the letter reads. "Given Mr. McLaughlin’s role over the years at Google, and most recently his position with its political action committee, any post at the White House would violate the intent of your executive order.

"As Google’s Director of Global Public Policy, Mr. McLaughlin led a team of corporate policy advocates working to influence a wide range of issues in the United States and globally. Simply put, he has been responsible for Google’s worldwide lobbying efforts."

What's more, the watchdogs point out, that other revolving door - between Google and the executive branch - is already in full swing. Former Google project manager Katie Stanton is now the White House director of citizen participation. Sonal Shah, former head of global development at Google.org, now oversees the White House Office of Social Innovation. And Google CEO Eric Schmidt, after advising the Obama transition team, is now a member of the President’s council of advisors on science and technology.

Laughlin was part of the transition team, and he's now poised to renew his efforts to shove Web 2.0 down the throat of the US government.

Part of the concern here is that as Google completes its reverse takeover of the Obama adminstration, it's facing probes by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. "The Justice Department is weighing antitrust issues relating to the proposed Google Books settlement and the Federal Trade Commission is considering the anti-trust implication of the relationship between Apple and Google directors," the watchdogs write.

"There are an increasing number of emerging issues that will likely pit the commercial interests of Google against the rights of American citizens, including protecting our privacy and consumer rights online." ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.