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We continue now from Part I and Part II of the series. InsideGoogle.com has the emails between Andrew McLaughlin and his contacts in Google, all the while serving as Deputy White House CTO, in a 3 PDF set, and I’m now starting on the second file.
Second email right out of the chute brings us to Vint Cerf (an “evangelist” for Google) once again, who seems to think his little clique of ex-Googlers are his own personal concierges in the Obama administration. This time on November 15, 2009, he’s whining that the Chinese have more influence over the IGF than he’d like, and sure enough McLaughlin assures Cerf that action will be taken. If that’s not special access to the government for one special corporation, I don’t know what is.
And now back to Net Neutrality. An exchange starting with a November 23 mail from Alan Davidson shows that McLaughlin is interested in more than just reading Davidson’s press releases. Davidson and McLaughlin. The two sides conspire against an attack being made by AT&T on the Net Neutrality front. You see, McLaughlin made the ignorant and irresponsible statement that ISPs censor us just like the Red Chinese do. Google knew that an administration officiall saying this would humiliate the cause, so McLaughlin (aka a White House official) and Davidson (Google’s chief lobbyist, er, “Director of US Public Policy”) team up to respond and even to try to kill the story if they can.
On to 2010. As this year began, Cerf himself was spooked on January 9 about reports that the White House was backing off of Net Neutrality, the FCC’s plans for which now having majority opposition in the House. McLaughlin says no such thing is happening, and we find out that anyone who dares oppose the White House is a ‘zealot’ who is full of ‘baloney.’
Then came the Haiti earthquake on the 12th. Vint Cerf, Becky Burr, and others at Google, along with McLaughlin, are being told on the 17th that SOUTHCOM finally made it a priority to get fuel to Haiti… to power the .ht domain servers. This is a “very serious issue,” says Bill Woodcock of Packet Clearing House. Oh no, somebody’s URL shortener might stop working even as a country falls apart! So of course McLaughlin was to use USAID contacts to get this fuel in place, it seems. I don’t know if they were used, but we then see an email from a government official from the Dominican Republic, speaking of having fuel at the embassy.
Honestly, DNS is important for a lot of people, but who the heck in Haiti had Internet access at this point, and why did it matter? The only benefits here are outside users of Haiti domains, as far as I can tell. And I think it needs investigated whether McLaughlin was instrumental in making this a higher priority than it should have been with SOUTHCOM and/or USAID, perhaps by Darrell Issa, the man on top of all of this.
It’s especially important given reports I’ve read that McLaughlin was also using Haiti relief efforts to promote a company Google is heavily invested in, Clearwire. His lobbying was reportedly so bad that people on conference calls were complaining.
And skipping over some efforts to get Google a leg up in getting some Department of Education data to disseminate, and Google donating some mapping technology to try to help in Haiti, we reach the end of the second PDF. This one didn’t have as much substance in it because there were so many emails related to the .ht domain that went on for pages because nobody ever trimmed the quoting on any of their emails.