Silicon Valley’s new D.C. partner: Charles Koch

“The tech industry has found a surprising new ally in its effort to shape public policy in Washington: the 82-year-old libertarian billionaire Charles Koch,” Nancy Scola reports for Politico. “Two organizations founded by Koch, one an education-focused institute and the other a grant-making foundation, have spent the past year ramping up their efforts to shape public debate on tech policy topics like self-driving cars and the rights of online publishers.”

“And despite their ideological distance on issues like the Paris climate accord, the Koch groups and left-leaning Silicon Valley are working together to advance the argument that innovation is most likely to flourish when legislators and regulators leave it alone,” Scola reports. “‘We tend to think that there’s a role for government, but it’s limited,’ Jesse Blumenthal, who leads the Charles Koch Institute’s tech policy portfolio, said in an interview at the organization’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. He called technology a prime example of how people can see their quality of life improved, and their existences less constrained, when the free market is allowed to work.”

“The deep-pocketed Koch groups have the resources to help tech put on educational events, co-host conferences and fund academic research. But the alliance with Charles Koch also allows Silicon Valley to expand its contacts and influence in the age of Donald Trump,” Scola reports. “The Koch brothers… have found common cause with Trump on one major issue of late: Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity has thrown its weight behind the tax code overhaul.”

“The Koch Institute views encryption as providing the strong digital privacy protections that citizens need to live out free lives — in contrast to law enforcement advocates who say it allows terrorists and drug smugglers to hide on the internet. The group argues that self-driving cars might need some rules of the road but that regulators should take a light touch. And it believes that holding websites responsible for what users post on them — as Congress is poised to do, with bipartisan bills that target online sex trafficking ads — is one step toward ‘turning the platforms into checkpoints the government can use to censor speech,'” Scola reports. “Those positions overlap nearly completely with what major tech firms like Apple, Google and Facebook have advanced.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

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I don’t really care about being right, I just care about success. You’ll find a lot of people that will tell you I had a very strong opinion, and they presented evidence to the contrary and five minutes later I changed my mind. I don’t mind being wrong, and I’ll admit that I’m wrong a lot. It doesn’t really matter to me too much. What matters to me is that we do the right thing. — Steve Jobs

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[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

43 Comments

  1. Exactly how has government messed up iOS 11, High Sierra, Home Kit, Mac Pro development, and Home Pod release?

    When will Tim Cool admit that the vast majority of Apple’s failures and public embarrassments are his responsibility?

    I’m not asking government to manage Apple – heaven forbid. But Tim Cook’s performance is abysmal. “It just works.” isn’t a clever marketing slogan, it’s a promise. A promise that Apple isn’t fulfilling.

      1. Gee, money involved. Wow. That’s something totally new. And the Democrats are pure as the driven snow and never play that game.

        Sarcasm aside, Libertarian values rule …

      2. GeoB,

        I’m rather amazed to hear that you support libertarianism. You do know, don’t you, that libertarians support keeping government at a minimum to avoid interfering with personal liberty? The Kochs are a borderline case, since they support government policies that help business, but they do generally feel that markets should be free and open.

        You, on the other hand, have seemed to support Trump Administration policies that would apply a heavy government hand to restrict the free exchange of goods, services, information, capital, and labor. Government policies to impose tariffs and import restrictions, limit journalists, promote “moral” behavior, favor one religion over another, and restrict the international movement of labor are not libertarian. They are the very opposite.

        As botvinnik notes elsewhere on this thread, the Kochs are globalists, in that they believe in free international markets, and not economic nationalists who believe that American can only be first if the government protects us from free competition. The Kochs, unlike the Trumps, believe that America can compete on a level playing field without government interference.

        1. Yeah, you gotta love it.

          Libtards are only good at dishing it out. But we all know deep down they are UNEVEN and UNABLE to handle it when the tables are turned.

          That could very well be the next 15 years …

      1. I met Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull in person. Great man so leave him out of this.

        Once again, you are dreaming and grasping at IMAGINARY straws. It is a pity you do not leave in the REAL world …

      1. OMG, Sean has found his new plaything called “cutting and pasting excerpts of critical thinking” from the web. Too bad you really aren’t capable of anything more, Sean. Get googling, my little fanboy. Make haste!

        1. I gotta stand up for Sarah here. The personal vitriol is uncalled for and only serves to highlight what a weak bitter loser you must be.

          I would love to see fair trade in the world. But that would require open, transparent, multilateral diplomacy. Exactly the opposite behaviour of your political idiots in power now, and exactly the opposite of the Brexit isolationists who are in the process of slitting out throats.

          Fair trade is _N E V E R _ achieved when one nation walks in demanding it is “First”, that all multilateral agreements in place today are unfair, and so forth. The arrogance is astounding and the lack of understanding how the current trade agreements already benefits the USA greater than most nations. That’s why you yanks have so many billionaires. You won the riches from the last major wave of globalism. The problem is that you don’t set up systems of government to reduce the accumulation of extremely concentated wealth, in fact, you appear blind to the fact that your economy and government are rigged. You think your party is going to make everyone prosperous when time and time again, your corporatist oligarchs raise the average by taking privatising gains for themselves, socialising all costs on the tax payer.

          Newer democratic governments of the world have worked hard to eliminate the bipolar corruption you celebrate. A few have actually made strides in forging economies that work for everyone. By any objective measures, the USA falls far behind other leading nations precisely because you allow corrupt assholes like Trump to fool you into thinking he is working on your behalf. He is not. He is the entertainment distraction of the the Wall Street class who owns you and both your pathetic parties. They don’t offer fair anything. They want more for themselves, that is all they stand for.

          I am shocked that anyone could be so delusional as to think Trump and the extremist wing of his party are representing the working classes. You have either been hoodwinked, you are mentally ill, or you are a paid troll. I think it’s the latter because you never stop, you are never civil, and nothing your party ever does is ever wrong.

          1. “I am shocked that anyone could be so delusional as to think Trump and the extremist wing of his party are representing the working classes.”

            Of course you are shocked. You’re a Libtard of the highest clueless order. Trump is the people’s president, got it?

  2. In a very short amount of time I have garnered a personal record number of FAKE VOTES, which are just that, and I don’t care one atomic particle.

    CitizenX, get a life …

    1. Most governments are beholden to their multinational corporate funders, exactly the opposite it should be. It is a sad day when mdn and others cheer for an unelected billionaire to have oversize influence in policy and legislation. There is a word for this….. Oligarchy. This is what the formerly great USA has become. So strong is the hokd of the rich on the corrupt parties that they will actively campaign for a pedophile of their party rather than even attempting to collaborate with like thinking people of the other side of the aisle. That is sick.

  3. “holding websites responsible for what users post on them”
    Like holding MDN responsible for some of the reprehensible words posted here? I think it’s an excuse to try to tamp down thoughts they don’t like.

    1. I didn’t hear you defending the 1st Amendment on MDN when they banned Citizen X. The haterade flows both directions but MDN obviously condones the FUD lies and propaganda from their special village idiots.

      1. That hasn’t been the party line here when it comes to accusing the mainstream media and major social media organizations of violating free speech by allegedly suppressing conservatives. The posters were all for imposing the First Amendment on corporations and other private parties then.

      2. CitizenX was banned for good reason. He was a petulant, annoying, endless STALKER, village idiot with nothing constructive to say. Like a child he always had to have the last word and then proclaimed somehow he won …

  4. Beware the Koch brothers, Silicon Valley! You make believe that you have some common cause, but such an alliance if fraught with danger. The Koch brothers have their own agenda and every one else is just a tool to them to further that self-interest.

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