(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)
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