Tech Titans Jump the Shark

If Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil,” it has a lot of explaining to do.

The company has reportedly joined the American Legislative Exchange Council — the corporate-funded group hell-bent on destroying the environment, disenfranchising voters, undermining teachers’ unions and eliminating gun-control laws. (To learn more about ALEC’s villainous ways, check out ALEC Exposed.)

ALEC drafts model legislation on behalf of the companies and far-right legislators funding it — and many of its bills have been signed into law. After Florida adopted the NRA-authored Stand Your Ground law that later cleared George Zimmerman for shooting the unarmed Trayvon Martin, ALEC pushed it as a model for other states.

And Google’s not the only tech giant that’s traveled to the dark side: Facebook and Yelp also recently joined ALEC. (Though only Yelp has publicly confirmed its membership in ALEC, Google and Facebook have not denied the allegations that they’ve joined.) According to the Daily Beast, Yelp wants ALEC to adopt legislation banning strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPPs. It's not clear whether concerns over SLAPPs might have similarly motivated Facebook or Google.

“Companies favor anti-SLAPP legislation,” the Huffington Post notes, “saying it would allow for free speech in user comments and other user-generated content. Under anti-SLAPP, an individual could not be sued for negative comments.”

You can't blame Yelp for wanting to avoid the fallout when Dennis in Dallas derides the local deli, but hooking up with ALEC to push anti-SLAPP legislation is pretty reprehensible.

Imagine if Superman paid Lex Luthor to help him stamp out kryptonite. He could rationalize the association by saying the end justified the means. But at that point he wouldn’t be Superman any longer. He would be Ethically Compromised Man.

In the last year, nearly 50 corporations — including Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, McDonald’s, Pepsi and Wal-Mart — have left ALEC, in part because the organization came under such critical scrutiny after the Trayvon Martin shooting.

It’s time for Facebook, Google and Yelp to jump ship. Join our friends at ColorofChange.org and Sum of Us in telling these tech titans to drop their membership in ALEC.

Original photo by Flickr user Steve Garner

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