Tech at Night: Sunlight, Free Press

On July 7, 2010, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

Welcome to Tech at Night. For a while now my second writing job at RedState* has been covering tech issues at night. Mostly it’s Internet issues these days, because that’s where the grabbing hands of the government have been grabbing all they can lately. But now I’m making it official, with a logo and a schedule. From now on I expect to be posting Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays late, but don’t hold it against me if occasionally I leak past midnight**, okay?

The basic goal of Tech at Night is to expose all the ways that the radical left wants to use government to bring us into the same kind of tech darkness that North Korea (pictured in the logo) suffers in a literal sense.

And now, on to business: Tonight we check back in with Sunlight Foundation and Free Press.

First, the Sunlight Foundation. Again, they like to pretend they’re a middle of the road, nonpartisan, good government group with an agenda only of opening up access to information about our government. But our friends at see differently. I previously mentioned their first report which pointed out that Sunlight seems to be taking sides on an unrelated issue, Net Neutrality, in a way we’d expect given their funding sources, which include Google and George Soros.

But the story goes on at BigGovernment, as we expect over there. Hypocrisy Grows in Sunlight, they say. Starting with a disclosure post at Sunlight which only showed up after the Breitbart crew exposed them, it’s clear that Sunlight doesn’t live by the standards of transparency and openness they expect from others.

But it goes on. Craig(‘s List) Newmark buys his way onto the board. So does a Google employee. Yochai Benkler of the Harvard Berkman Center (sponsored in part by Google) hopped between doing Net Neutrality work at the FCC to sitting on the Sunlight board. They all are actively pushing Net Neutrality, and then suddenly Sunlight is pushing Net Neutrality. The math isn’t hard, especially when Sunlight has been the dog that didn’t bark at the Andrew McLaughlin (former Google bigshot and current Net Neutrality proponent) White House lobbying scandal, one of the more egregious anti-transparent acts of the White House in the last year, one that’s directly up Sunlight’s tech alley.

And for a final amusing (or is it damning, or both?) note from the BigGovernment piece: digital libertarian guru Larry Lessig is on the board, and his huge Creative Commons effort… also does not disclose any of its donors. So we don’t even know which ways he might be trying to steer Sunlight in order to help the people who pay those bills. Some transparency.

And now, some Free Press coverage via the Daily Caller. I am so glad those two sites do so much great tech work. I’m doing what I can to raise awareness, but they’re doing a lot of heavy lifting. But today they point out Free Press’s active efforts to build a big Net Neutrality alliance, and they’ll say whatever they have to in order to make the sale. Even if it isn’t quote honest.

Specifically, Free Press claims the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco signed a letter of theirs, but Jack McKinney, executive director of the museum, claims he had no idea he was even involved with the letter. Ditto Shaye Olmstead of Operation Catnip in Gainesville of his spay-and-neuter clinic’s mysterious appearance in the Free Press letter.

Apparently it all comes down to a survey by the Nonprofit Technology Network, which Free Press has used as a trojan horse to con members into signing its letters. Free Press is desperate. They know the people and the House of Representatives are against them, and Barack Obama isn’t going to spend political capital on this issue. So now they’re lying all they can to try to recapture some momentum. Shame on them.

* Both unpaid, to be clear in case Free Press tries to start something.

** Pacific Time. I’m in California and I work to the clocks at home, which means anything past 9pm my time will show up “late” on the East, and I can’t be responsible for time zones!

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