07.08.15

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Microsoft-Connected Anti-Google AstroTurfing Group Tries to Push Google to Web Censorship, With IDG’s Help (Plus an Attack on Free/Libre Software)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Google, Microsoft at 8:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IDG/CIO

Summary: CIO, a Web site of IDG, smears Microsoft’s competition by quoting sources that are closely aligned with and/or subservient to Microsoft

AN old ‘friend’, a branch of Microsoft AstroTurfing ‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’, has just reared its ugly head again with help from IDG‘s “CIO” (a misleading site name). Consumer Watchdog is not a watchdog and it’s not for consumers. IDG should know better than that by now. Consumer Watchdog is an attack dog and a front group against Google. Right now it complains that Google is not censoring enough (as if censorship is a good thing). Remember that censorship is not privacy and “Consumer Watchdog” cares only about making Google look bad, it never cared about privacy at all.

To quote the nonsense from IDG’s “CIO” site (neglecting to correctly identify the messenger): “Consumer Watchdog will file a complaint against Google with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission Tuesday, said John Simpson, director of the group’s Privacy Project. The complaint will ask the FTC to rule that Google, by declining to delete search engine links on request from U.S. residents, is an unfair business practice that violates the U.S. FTC Act.”

‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ has a Privacy Project? That’s just hilarious. That’s would be like BP forming a “green group”. Moreover, it is hilarious that IDG covers “privacy” and pretends that it cares about the concept because CIO, for example, based on NoScript, want to run a massive number of scripts on my machine from just about thirty different domains! Holy cow! The reader is the product and browsing habits are up for sale to so many entities at the same time. The same is true for other sites of IDG (there are many of them).

“The original source of that really bad scraper site is a CIO trash opinion piece,” wrote someone to us. IDG has become complicit in lobbying and AstroTurfing, whether it realises this or not.

Another new piece of garbage came from IDG only a short while ago, quoting XenSource (Microsoft-friendly as we have shown many times in past years) as some kind of authority on FOSS. This is again mischaracterising the messenger to give the messenger undeserved credibility. That’s like calling Richard Stallman an “open core” proponent. The headline boldly states that “open source business model is a failure” and the body belatedly adds vital context to this headline: “That’s the conclusion of Peter Levine, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm that backed Facebook, Skype, Twitter and Box as startups. Levine is also former CEO of XenSource, a company that commercialized products based on the open source Xen hypervisor.”

“…sites that pretend to offer ‘news’ often just treat readers (audience) as the product, selling the audience to the real client (the advertiser or agenda setter).”Levine is not a truly technical person and he ignores plenty of evidence that open source as a business model works, and often works very well. A lot of people can easily claim that the proprietary software business model is inherently flawed because very few proprietary software companies sell stuff (only a few giants do). A lot of those claiming that no open source business model can work also say FOSS is sexist, racist, not secure, brings licence/liceinsing risk, etc. — the very same things that can be said about proprietary software. If only 10% of Free/libre software companies manage to survive in the long term (based on level of sustainable income) it might not be any different, statistically, from their proprietary counterparts. The company my wife and I work for does manage to make income from Free/libre software development and maintenance. This company is far from the only one in Europe and many are doing very well. Proprietary software is not a business model. Free/libre software development is not a business model either. It’s modality of distribution/development. People buy services, not zeros and ones. For IDG to publish and republish misleading headlines like “Why the open source business model is a failure” is merely to provoke. For IDG to call ‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ a “privacy group” (even in the headline) and to label censorship “right to be forgotten” is to reveal sheer bias. Remember that Microsoft is a huge client of IDG (advertising, IDC contracts and so on), so maybe we oughtn’t be very shocked by that. Here is a great new example of proprietary software advertment disguised as an article. It bashes Free/libre software as a whole, too, while promoting one particular piece of proprietary software in Computer Weekly.

Watch out what you read because there is plenty of agenda on sale everywhere. Moreover, sites that pretend to offer ‘news’ often just treat readers (audience) as the product, selling the audience to the real client (the advertiser or agenda setter). That’s their business model. Very unethical.

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