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@aral I've been following the discussion re: funding by surveillance capitalists and my gut is convinced that you are right, but my mind needs a logical argument to "if you can make your enemy pay for campaigning against him, why not do it?" in order to shut up.

And, "they wouldn't do it if it wasn't to their benefit" doesn't count. Why do they do it? What IS their benefit?

@qwazix Why would Exxon Mobil sponsor a conference on the environment? Why would Philip Morris sponsor a conference on healthcare?

Because it gives them legitimacy.

That’s why those companies would never be allowed to sponsor legitimate conferences on those subjects. That we don’t see a problem with it in tech tells me that we don’t/won’t understand that Google and Facebook are to human rights and democracy what Exxon Mobil and Philip Morris are to the environment & our health.

@aral I'd suspect that they'd do it to influence the conversation. Do we have any suspicion that they actually do it?

We know that Big Tobacco and Big Oil funded bogus research and outright lied and the conferences they funded were sham. On the other hand it doesn't look like Google is steering the conversation at FOSDEM very much. In fact I didn't know they were sponsors until you mentioned it.

I mean, we are using de-googled android. Isn't it kinda the same thing?

@qwazix @aral I am probably side tracking the conversation, but originally Exxon did real quality research on climate change. It was important for them to know whether there was a problem. Only once that was clear, they started the misinformation campaign.

And oil companies do sponsor the American Geophysical Society meeting. It is a broad conference on both geology (important for oil drilling) and on climate. How much they sponsor is less each time, as people see the problem.

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