• Google Is a Fundamental Threat to Conservatism

    (Chuck Muth) – Google is at it again—quietly undermining the messaging of conservative advocacy campaigns without supplying any reason as to why.

    On December 1, 2019, “60 Minutes” reported that Google had targeted and removed more than 300 political ads from their platforms, purportedly because they “violated company policy.” The kicker? The more than 300 advertisements were all from President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.

    Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s CEO, confirmed in an interview that the president’s campaign ads were “not approved to run on Google or YouTube.” But, oddly enough, she didn’t say why.

    Google has been rather tight-lipped about the report, offering no insight for the reason they appear to be systematically targeting our Republican president’s reelection efforts. Meanwhile, reporters have likewise been unable to determine what policy, if any, Trump seems to have violated.

    We may never know the specific reason why Google is taking down Trump’s ads. However, there is one thing we know for sure: the internet search company has an extensive history of anti-conservative bias. YouTube—one of Google’s chief subsidiaries—has seemingly made targeting conservatives one of its favorite pastimes.

    Whether its demonetizing conservative content creators like Steven Crowder or unjustly restricting the conservative educational videos of PragerU, Google has elevated the silencing of conservatives into somewhat of an art form. Though it’s easy to make fun of the company for their bogus claims of neutrality, the truth of the matter is quite sobering. Google represents a serious threat to the conservative movement, one that becomes increasingly dangerous as the tech giant grows in power. And unfortunately, Google will soon have the opportunity to do just that.

    In fact, the search engine company is presently involved in a lawsuit to determine just how much creative control it has over the property of others. If handled incorrectly, this suit could cause Google to garner even more control over the digital world, spelling disaster for conservatives in the process.

    The Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in the case of Google v. Oracle, a massive copyright case with enormous implications for our nation’s entire digital landscape. Google is essentially claiming that it has the right to copy code from its competitor’s software because copying constitutes “fair use” under the law. Code, Google argues, isn’t copyrightable, and therefore isn’t subjected to the protections afforded to it under current intellectual property protections. 

    This “loose” interpretation of copyright protection has already allowed Google to grow substantially. As it stands, the tech company has already made significant inroads within the mobile phone marketplace by relying upon Oracle’s source code to boost its Android software. What’s more, Google has already used its power within the mobile sphere to target conservatives. It has done so by censoring and banning Gab, a conservative rival to Twitter. And now, through Google v. Oracle, the search engine company is seeking the authority to do additional damage.

    A Supreme Court victory for Google would expand the company’s control over digital information even more. Such a ruling would set precedent that a business’ proprietary digital information—like code—would no longer be the sole property of its creator. It wouldn’t be subject to copyright protection, and as such, would effectively exist within the public domain, subject to the search engine company’s whims. That’s a proposition that should absolutely terrify conservatives.

    The question in the case is over copyrightable material, and if SCOTUS rules in favor of Google, it would effectively sanction the company’s right to nullify the IP protections afforded to digital information. It’s even possible that conservatives could lose the exclusive right to our own digital content. This would make it even easier for a company like Google to silence conservative voices, as the content we produce may no longer be subject to legal protection.

    Indeed, the more code that Google is able to lift from their competitors, the bigger and more influential it will become. And that kind of growth, left unchecked by SCOTUS, is a recipe for disaster. Given the company’s history of suppressing conservative voices and biasing search results against us, Google simply cannot be trusted with that type of power. Currently, Google is an obstacle to the success of the conservative movement. But with a victory at the Supreme Court, Google could threaten conservatism’s very existence.

    (Chuck Muth is the president of Citizen Outreach. This column was originally published by CNS News on December 11, 2019)

  • Citizen Outreach Joins Coalition Letter Urging FTC to Finalize Update to Contact Lens Rule

    (Las Vegas, NV) – Citizen Outreach today joined fellow members of the Coalition for Contact Lens Consumer Choice in submitting a letter to members of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging them to finalize a long-delayed update to the Contact Lens Rule “as soon as possible.”

    The update would be of significant benefit to some 41 million Americans who wear contact lenses and often find themselves a “captive audience” when attempting to purchase their contact lenses from someone other than the optometrist who issued their prescription.

    “Too much power still resides with optometrists who can prescribe and sell contact lenses at the same time, without any meaningful choice by the patient,” the letter reads.  “In the absence of a strong FTC rule, there is no incentive for a prescriber to ever willingly give a patient their prescription.”

    Signers of the letter “support legislative and regulatory proposals at the federal and state levels that protect the ability of consumers to purchase contact lenses from the retailer of their choice – whether online, in stores or over the phone – and strongly support competition in the marketplace, because it helps both consumers and taxpayers.”

    The Coalition represents retailers, contact lens wearers, eye care and medical professionals, and consumer and taxpayer groups such as Citizen Outreach.  The Coalition includes members from both sides on the political aisle, as well as companies who compete against each other in the marketplace.

    Click here to read the full letter.

  • Citizen Outreach Urges Senate Leaders to Back T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

    Citizen Outreach joined a large coalition of national conservative organizations urging Senate leaders to support the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint in order to boost competition, facilitate the expansion of the 5G network, and reduce costs for consumers.

    Click here to read the letter

  • Citizen Outreach Signs Onto Coalition Letter Calling for End to Foreign Sugar Subsidies

    A group of nine national free-market advocacy and education organizations have submitted a coalition letter to Senate Republicans urging that language be added to the Farm Bill that would zero out the current U.S. sugar program in return for foreign competitors zeroing out their sugar industry subsidies.

    The group supports a resolution introduced by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), called Zero for Zero, which is in line with President Trump’s stated long-term trade goal of “No tariffs, no barriers…and no subsidies.”

    The coalition letter notes that the current U.S. sugar program “exists because foreign subsidies have made sugar the world’s most volatile commodity market” and hurts American farmers.

    Read more →

  • Citizen Outreach joins coalition to repeal FATCA

    (Washington, D.C.) – A coalition of 23 taxpayer protection and grassroots organizations sent a letter today urging Congressional leadership to include repeal of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) as part of comprehensive tax reform. Co-authored by the Center for Freedom and Prosperity and the Campaign to Repeal FATCA, the letter highlights the path of destruction that FATCA has carved through the international financial sector.

    Link to Repeal FATCA letter:
    http://freedomandprosperity.org/files/2017-FATCA_repeal_coalition_ltr.pdf

    The letter makes 5 key points:

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