Google paying millions to academics for public policy support

Google has been paying academics millions to produce research to support its public policy.

An investigation by the Campaign for Accountability, a US body, found that 329 studies were funded by Google either directly or indirectly between 2005 and 2017. In two-thirds of the reports, the funding was not disclosed.

The watchdog added: "The academic papers examined encompassed a wide range of policy and legal issues of critical importance to Google’s bottom line, including antitrust, privacy, net neutrality, search neutrality, patents and copyright. They were also tied to specific issues that Google sought to influence.

"The number of Google-funded studies tended to spike during moments when its business model came under threat from regulators, or when the company had opportunities to push for regulations on its competitors."

Leslie Miller, director of public policy at Google, responded in a blog post outlining its principles for funding research, explaining that the funding helps academics take their research further.

She also hit out at the Campaign for Accountability saying that it "consistently refuses to name its corporate funders".

Miller added: "And those backers won’t ‘fess up either. The one funder the world does know about is Oracle, which is running a well-documented lobbying campaign against us. In its own name and through proxies, Oracle has funded many hundreds of articles, research papers, symposia and reports."

The Campaign for Accountability's executive director Daniel Stevens responded by saying that the body is a nonprofit organisation.

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