Wednesday, 12 July 2017 08:05

Google paying academics to influence public policy: report Featured


Google has been paying academics to write papers that could help influence public opinion and policy, with money going to professors at universities ranging from Harvard to the University of California at Berkeley.

A detailed report in The Wall Street Journal said Google had paid for hundreds of research papers over the last 10 years, to build public opinion against regulatory changes that would affect its market dominance.

Google was recently fined €2.42 billion (US$2.7 billion, A$3.64 billion) by the European Union for allegedly abusing its search engine dominance to give illegal advantage to its own comparison shopping service.

And there have been reports that it may face another fine over how it pays and limits mobile phone providers who use its Android mobile operating system and app store.

Emails obtained by the newspaper showed that in many cases the papers were shown to Google before publication and suggestions were accepted for changes.

The professors in question did not always disclose that they had been paid by Google; this was also the case in later papers on the same or similar topics.

One case that the WSJ cited was that of Paul Heald, a law professor from the University of Illinois, who suggested a research paper on copyrights that he thought would assist Google. He received US$18,830 to fund his work which did not mention his sponsor when it was published in 2012.

When asked about the lack of admission, he claimed it was due to oversight. Heald claimed that the money did not influence his work, claiming that Google had told him: "If you take this US$20,000 and open up a doughnut shop with it — we’ll never give you any more money — but that’s fine.”

The WSJ said a former Google lobbyist and a former employee had said that Google drew up wishlists of proposed papers that included working titles, abstracts and budgets and searched for authors who were willing to write them.

The company told the newspaper: "Ever since Google was born out of Stanford’s Computer Science department, we've maintained strong relations with universities and research institutes, and have always valued their independence and integrity.

"We’re happy to support academic researchers across computer science and policy topics, including copyright, free expression and surveillance, and to help amplify voices that support the principles of an open Internet."

The WSJ said that Google had paid for about 100 papers on public policy, most of which mentioned the funding. Another 100-odd papers were funded by think-tanks or research bodies founded by Google and other technology companies and these did not disclose the source of their funding.

Please join our community here and become a VIP.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here
JOIN our iTWireTV our YouTube Community here


It's all about Webinars.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 3 to 4 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site and prominent Newsletter promotion and Promotional News & Editorial. Plus a video interview of the key speaker on iTWire TV which will be used in Promotional Posts on the iTWire Home Page.

Now we are coming out of Lockdown iTWire will be focussed to assisting with your webinatrs and campaigns and assassistance via part payments and extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs. We can also create your adverts and written content plus coordinate your video interview.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.



iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.


Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous




Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News