Barry Lynn and several colleagues have set up an organization called Citizens Against Monopoly after Google Chairman Eric Schmidt reportedly forced the hand that fired the scholar and team from a group at the New America Foundation as a result of the blog post he wrote praising the $2.7 billion fine issued by European regulators against Google's antitrust violations.
The Open Markets team created The Citizens Against Monopoly's website posts with its mission statement as protecting "liberty and democracy from gigantic corporate monopolies. When we criticized Google for its monopoly practices, our program's funding was cut."
The website, which promotes free speech, asks visitors to add their email address and ZIP code to a prewritten letter to the Google CEO, but it also provides an option to edit the text in the provided letter.
"Google's attempts to shut down think tanks, journalists, and public interest advocates researching and writing about the dangers of concentrated private power must end," the letter reads.
Lynn's post appeared in June, but Anne-Marie Slaughter, the chief executive of the New America Foundation, said in a statement Wednesday to The Wall Street Journal that the firing wasn't related to his criticism of Google in June, but rather because his '"repeated refusal to adhere to New America’s standards of openness and institutional collegiality meant that we could no longer work together.'"
Reports suggested that Schmidt threatened to cut off funding to the foundation, but that Google continues to fund the foundation even after the latest developed last year over Mr. Lynn’s handling of Google-related issues.
Google said it doesn’t involve itself in other groups’ personnel decisions, and had nothing to do with New America Foundation’s decision to expel the Open Markets unit. Nor did Schmidt threaten to cut off funding to the foundation. One report also notes that Google has continued to fund the foundation even after friction developed last year over Lynn’s handling of other Google-related issues.
The Open Markets team wants to apply pressure on Google to demand that it "stop crushing independent research into corporate monopolies," and wants the public to help.
The actions taken by Schmidt do not seem much different than the firing of the Google engineer James Damore for sharing his views based on Google research. Although the scenarios are quite different, the outcomes for the people who shared their point of view were the same.