Non-profit

Tech Transparency Project

Parent Organization:

Campaign for Accountability

The Tech Transparency Project is a left-leaning watchdog group that opposes and criticizes various activities of large technology and social media companies. The group was initially launched in 2016 as the Google Transparency Project and has quickly widened its scope of work to provide research, reporting, and data that is critical of all major tech companies including Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. [1]

The group often attacks platforms such as Facebook for hosting far-right groups and advertisements that allegedly promote misinformation. [2] The organization is a project of the left-of-center Campaign for Accountability and is funded by several notable left-leaning groups and individuals including the Open Society Foundations, the Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and David Magerman. [3]

Background

The Tech Transparency Project was founded by the left-wing Campaign for Accountability in 2016 as the Google Transparency Project and still focuses much of its efforts on projects monitoring Google’s corporate activity. [4]

Katie Paul works as the director of the Tech Transparency Project. Paul is a staffer for the Campaign for Accountability and also directs the Antiquities Trafficking and Heritage Anthropology Research (ATHAR) Project for the group. [5]

In March 2020, the Campaign for Accountability rebranded the Google Transparency Project as the Tech Transparency Project. The Center for Accountability also operates the Themis Project, which is critical of pro-life groups, and the BlackRock Transparency Project, which acts as a watchdog group for BlackRock, the largest asset management company in the United States. [6]

Activity

The organization hosts an archive of documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that includes 43,000 pages of materials consisting of communications between Google executives and US and European government officials. [7] The group also has Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight data from Google-owned passenger airplanes, data on “revolving door” officials who worked at Google and in the Obama administration, and several other Google-related datasets, including White House visits, conference speakers, Google grants to academia, and data on sites allegedly spreading COVID-19 disinformation using Google’s advertising platform. [8]

The organization has also begun collecting data about Facebook, particularly around alleged white supremacy organizations using Facebook groups and the Department of Justice’s prosecution of child exploitation on Facebook. [9]

The organization has also published nearly 100 articles reporting on various Google, YouTube, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon activities, including purported revolving doors of US and European Facebook employees, allegations that Apple is involved in forced labor, and claims that Facebook runs recruitment advertisements for extremist “militia” groups. [10]

A report from 2019 published by the Tech Transparency Project criticizes Google for being supported by the Koch political network on a number of political issues. The report claims that Google and libertarian-leaning Koch network groups have worked together to defend Google from federal government regulation on data privacy and criticizes Google for partnering with Koch organizations because of their right-of-center positions on unrelated issues, such as global warming and gun control. [11]

The group is also an active member of the Freedom from Facebook and Google coalition. The coalition includes a number of other left-leaning groups, such as Public Citizen, Progress America, and Democracy for America, that allege that Facebook and Google are monopolies. The group most recently has collected petition signatures to urge the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to break up Facebook by spinning off its Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger subsidiaries into competing networks. [12]

References

  1. “About Us.” Tech Transparency Project. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.techtransparencyproject.org/about-us ^
  2. “Home.” Tech Transparency Project. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.techtransparencyproject.org/ ^
  3. “About Us.” Tech Transparency Project. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.techtransparencyproject.org/about-us ^
  4. https://fortune.com/2016/04/27/google-transparency-project/ ^
  5. “About Us.” Tech Transparency Project. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.techtransparencyproject.org/about-us ^
  6. “About.” Campaign for Accountability. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://campaignforaccountability.org/about/ ^
  7. https://fortune.com/2016/04/27/google-transparency-project/ ^
  8. “Data.” Tech Transparency Project. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.techtransparencyproject.org/data ^
  9. “Data.” Tech Transparency Project. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.techtransparencyproject.org/data ^
  10. “Reports.” Tech Transparency Project. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.techtransparencyproject.org/reports ^
  11. “Google and the Koch Network: A Troubling Alliance of Convenience.” Tech Transparency Project. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.techtransparencyproject.org/articles/google-and-koch-network-troubling-alliance-of-convenience ^
  12. “Home.” Freedom from Facebook and Google. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.freedomfromfacebookandgoogle.com/home ^
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