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Internet Freedom Advocates Clash with Tech Giants

Perhaps it was just a matter of time. Internet advocacy groups such as Demand Progress and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have long been viewed as aligned with the values of Google, Facebook, and other Silicon Valley behemoths, promoting policies that advance Internet freedom and openness. In a kind of symbiotic relationship, the Internet giants, in turn, show their interest in promoting an open Net by supporting these groups and showcasing their hot button issues. However, a rift seems to be growing between the two entities over critical issues such as privacy. Google and Facebook publicly opposed an Internet privacy bill introduced in California which would have banned carriers such as Comcast and Verizon from selling Web browsing history without a subscriber’s permission. EFF and others have strongly criticized Google and Facebook for taking this position. Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google also publicly called on Congress to jettison FCC internet privacy rules, further estranging the two groups. Perhaps monopolies always end up acting like monopolies even if they are “cool” ones. —TV