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back to article Copyright minister admits: Google has better access to No. 10 than me

Google has greater access to No. 10 Downing Street than the government's own ministers, one such minister has admitted. Viscount Younger of Leckie, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Intellectual Property - the third copyright minister in a year - made the candid confession before the Media, Culture and Sport …

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Anonymous Coward

So what is the difference between No. 10 and 1600 Pennsylvania

So you have conservatives in No10 who are owned by Google and we have a Liberal at 1600 Pennsylvania who is owned by Google. Tell me again what the difference is again between a liberal and a conservative.

AC because I don't need any more attention from the IRS than I already have.

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Re: So what is the difference between No. 10 and 1600 Pennsylvania

You are forgetting about the political doppler effect between the us and everywhere else.

Someone who, in the us would be regarded as a 'pinko commie liberal sonofabich who needs to keep his stinkin gubermint hands off my medicare' would be regarded in the free world as a raving neo-facist loon.

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Re: So what is the difference between No. 10 and 1600 Pennsylvania

@AC Remember that in America you have the choice between voting for the Right Wing Party or the *really* Right Wing Party...

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Re: So what is the difference between No. 10 and 1600 Pennsylvania

The UK give you a bit more choice. You can vote for:

The right-wing, public school old-boys; or

The right-wing, public school old-boys.

Umm...yeah.

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Re: So what is the difference between No. 10 and 1600 Pennsylvania

Google are equal opportunity employers they 've bought the repubs too. They spunked out $18 million on US lobbying last year.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/14/america-s-new-oligarchs-fwd-us-and-silicon-valley-s-shady-1-percenters.html

but hey they'll offer you a bag of sweets, and you'll climb into their cars.

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Re: So what is the difference between No. 10 and 1600 Pennsylvania

It's like this: UK Prime Minister David Cameron's top adviser is Steve Hilton, whose wife, Rachel Whetstone, is "global head of communications and public policy for information technology company Google." (Wikipedia)

Hilton and Whetstone are godparents to Cameron's oldest child, Ivan Cameron. Who the fuck is "Viscount Younger of Leckie, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Intellectual Property"? Just some dumbass nominated to take the bullets for Cameron and the civil service IP cabal.... Go ahead, ridicule and mock him - that's what he's there for.

And when it says Whetstone is the "global head of communications" is there any doubt that the "communication" which Whetstone oversees, is the "communication" of Google's desires to Cameron, the UK government, and the civil service that actually runs the UK? Why do you think that Google even pays her a salary, ffs? For her tax-accountancy and -evasion skills?

Is there anything here that's unclear to anyone other than the willfully blind or terminally naive?

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Trollface

Re: the difference between a liberal and a conservative

5 letters and one syllable

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@Eadon - Re: Lobbyists Are ANTI-DEMOCRATIC

If you write to your MP or a group of you organise a petition or other such activities, you are *lobbying*! The only difference is the matter of scale.

Now, yes, I agree that nobody, especially corporate lobbyists should pay for expensive dinners or foreign trips or offer any other sort of freebies to influence MPs who are supposed to represent the views of *us*, the electorate, but lobbying, per se, is not and should not be illegal.

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Re: @Eadon - Lobbyists Are ANTI-DEMOCRATIC

It's true that lobbying isn't itself democratic - although the comparison to writing to MPs is an interesting point, my understanding being that they typically ignore letters that aren't from their own constituents. Similarly Google and MPAA employees should be free to write to MPs, and I would prefer they get treated similarly, if they don't actually live in that constituent...

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Headmaster

Re: Lobbyists Are ANTI-DEMOCRATIC

Sorry, here in the US I pay the NRA (even though I don't have any guns) and the AMA (Amer. M'cycle Assn) to lobby against things like stupid gun laws, stupid motorcycle laws, and ethanol in my gas. I have to fight big organizations like the corn farmer lobby, so my money is best spent on professional lobbyists. I do my own letter-writing (NOT emailing) as well. I also voted against that religious freak in the last election.

Lobbyists are elected by me, accountable to me through the NRA/AMA magazines, and definitely wanted. For example, the AMA defeated several Home Owners Associations trying to ban motorcycle ownership.

I can't think of anything else I can do to be more involved in the democratic process, as I don't have the time to do political volunteering/campaigning.

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Re: Lobbyists Are ANTI-DEMOCRATIC

Maybe there should be a rule that any MP receiving a any form of lobbying on behalf of a company not based (and paying taxes) in his or her constituency cannot receive any form of stipend from that company for 25 years after he or she ceases to become an MP.

Rather than the current idiocy of lobby->dinners->favours->retire as MP->nice directorship after.

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Go

Something I find baffling

Something I find baffling about this is why are they bothering to talk to the minister? As you say, he's the third one this year, that means he's had 2 months maximum to come in and get to know the department, and its only natural he doesnt really know all that much about whats going on.

Why arent the questions being asked directly to the "unelected copyright czar" as you put it. He will actually know what is going on, and actually can say who started putting the pressure on to remove copyright, when they started putting the pressure on and how hard the department has been following/fighting the demands.

Who cares what the minister says, he's only there for the photo opportunities and the chance for free lunches. Lets ask the questions to the permanent employees who deal with the real work day in and day out...

We've all seen Yes, Minister after all...

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And they are surprised by this?

Who do they thing sets policy in the UK? It sure isn't MPs and hasn't been for a long, long time.

Hence the tax laws we have, the complete lack of banking regulation, the destruction of the railways and now the dismantling of the NHS.

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You know that thing...

...when you're arguing with someone, and it's clear that they're not replying to what you *actually* said, but rather to what they expect or want you to have said? That sounds *exactly* like this.

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Re: You know that thing...

@nichomach

Oh, yes. I 'know that thing'. It's called 'being married'... (runs and hides in case, um, 'someone' is reading this :-P).

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Its just strange

that on the day that the BPI announce they are going after another 25 torrent sites, Google, the biggest torrent search engine on planet earth, has better access to 10 Downing street than the parliamentary under secretary of state. Its little wonder the BPI were shouting at Google but remember, they are not evil so can do what they like

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the reason we have Select committees

is to ask these questions and make ministers, policy-wonks, special advisers, industrial plutocrats, and financial lizards stumble, extemporize, mis-speak, and err-and-hmm in front of the public gaze.

Would help if the public gaze did look that way more than it does at Britain (allegedly) Has Some Talent.

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Democracy?

I do loathe the influence that big money seems to wield over British Governments (and the last lot were not so clean themselves, I seem to recall). I'd much prefer the influence to be primarily from our own elected politicians, idiots though a lot of them are.

And on that score I'm not inclined to care much about the minister's complaints - not an MP is he?

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Megaphone

The behaviour of all of these people is sickening, and apparently above any kind of moral or legal accountability.

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Happy

It's telling that I don't know who you're referring to - Google or the politicians.

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Anonymous Coward

How is Google able to influence the UK government given it pays no UK taxes!

Maybe they should be told to fuck off or pay their way before asking for a say in policy.....

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Go

Re: How is Google able to influence the UK government given it pays no UK taxes!

Oh but Google do pay there way, just not via the Exchequer. They pay via politicians jaunts, gifts, backhanders, and easy jobs upon retirement.

Why else do you think they're not told to fuck off... ;)

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Go

Re: How is Google able to influence the UK government given it pays no UK taxes!

They pay every penny they are legally obligated to. It's just that the rules say that's not many pennies...

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Google bribes government officials

And the police do nothing about it. This isn't even the thin end of the wedge. Big companies do this all the time.

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Re: Google bribes government officials

No they don't you numpty.

If you have any evidence (and not 'just what everyone knows') then hand it over to the police and they'll happily stamp all over it. But you don't. It's just driven by a uninformed cynicism of politics and government.

Having worked in and around central government for a long time I have a very informed cynicism about it. And bribes are not part of the way that large companies influence ministers and civil servants - there are far far more effective ways that don't relate to money but are all about culture, social networks and control & delivery of information.

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They tweak the PM's search results

'conservatives popular voters 2013' just produces a single result link.

Plus, of course, google know what he searches for in those long, large evenings in the house...

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Joke

Solution

The guy has nothing to complain about. If he wants more access he simply needs to make more money. This is Capitalism after all and everyone has an equal opportunity to acquire money & power. He's obviously doing it wrong.

Note the joke icon...

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Re: Solution

" This is Capitalism after all"

It is indeed, there is nothing new about large companies having the ear of the government.

It's how we built the Empire and it drives the eagerness to sell arms and ammunition and road schemes and the like.

Whatever next, people moaning about how it all changed from manufacturing to service industries?

But then, they bought the privatisation scams and being all puffed up at being called 'stakeholders'.

And the odd notion that 'growth' is somehow infinite on a relatively small planet.

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Boffin

Re: Solution

" This is Capitalism after all"

No it's not. Capitalism is about open competition in free markets. The word for what we're seeing here is "Corporatism" which has, in the past, been a precursor to Mussolini-style Fascism.

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Happy

Re: Solution

No, Capitalism is the pursuit of wealth. It says nothing about a fair or open market. You are defining a way to play within the bounds of capitalism: A laissez faire arrangement, two different things.

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As that bloke in "Lord of War" was fond of saying...

... "I prefer it my way."

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Re: Solution

"No, Capitalism is the pursuit of wealth"

So is doing the lottery every week. You're on to something, but you have to be more precise.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Re: Solution

Exactly.

When the state gives one sector, or one company a huge advantage over the others, it is as you say, corporatism. This isn't some precursor to fascist economics however, it *is* fascist economics: the state picks "winners", and protects them.

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Devil

Don't be evil

Oh just fuck off, Google, and take your steaming pile of fanbois with you.

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FAIL

Re: Don't be evil

A downvote already. I guess government by unelected, tax-avoiding overseas companies is the latest must-have accessory for trendy young things.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Don't be evil

@Mahatma Coat. Express any negative view of Google on el reg and you'll be downvoted.

There's a large number of people here with a serious emotional investment in what is really the biggest corporate parasite on the planet behind Goldman Sachs.

Buggered if I know why. Maybe the occasional free shiny-shiny service buys their loyalty.

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Anonymous Coward

Full circle eh

In the 1700's, Americans complained about taxation without representation. Now it appears they have representation without taxation...

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Some are more equal

"When it comes to education, is it right that we batten down the hatches and put a blanket on historians who write history books and they're not allowed to be given to schools, for example."

So what's his point there? Is it that history books are too important for us to have to pay for? So if it's a song, it's copyright infringement, but if it's something that he thinks would be worthwhile to be freely available, it's not? I guess the historians won't make much money under this guy.

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Over inflated sense of entitlement

The reason that Google execs have better access to the Prime Minister than some little copyright minister is because they are far more important than he is. The fact that he doesn't realise this is sad, but inconsequential - as is he.

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Anonymous Coward

Viscount Younger of Leckie

If he thinks it's bad now wait until next year when the Scots have no access to it at all, still, I'm sure Holyrood will have that sort of stuff up and running in no time.

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Oh Dear!

So Cameron and his bunch of cronies learnt nothing from the Murdoch/Hacking scandle? He believes we will forgive him for bending over for a hideous US conglomerate?

I'd like to say I wish him luck but I was taught not to lie!

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Anonymous Coward

Worst corruption: First World or Emerging Markets?

Nice example of pay-to-play with politicians working for the same corporations that are being hauled-up over clever tax schemes. A game that the equivalent competing SME has no access to. For the UK, the good news is that its even worse in the US. Lobbying in Washington makes an art-form of corruption. The corporate fat-cats enrich the political fat-cats making half of them easy millionaires. Why? Because insider-trading isn't illegal for them exclusively! Honestly, it warms my arteries.

Glad to be done with UK & USA and now working in emerging markets (EM). It cracks me up how people in the EM look up to first world countries as being paragons of virtue. If they only knew. First-world corruption is just more subtle. I relish the brutal honesty of the EM, in that at least there's less political spin, here's the corruption folks, take it or leave it!

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Anonymous Coward

Why is Google singled out?

Agreed that Google is influential, has a tag line of "don't do evil" which is questionable, dodges taxes etc. But so does other companies. Tech being the latest hot topic at No. 10, it is no wonder that many big tech companies are accessing No. 10 from the back door (mostly for evil). The concern should be that this happens en masse rather than diverting the attention by focusing on just one company.

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Sil

Lunch time

Reminds me of google's cars illegally snoopping WiFi information. All it took was a good lunch with downing street - problem solved (for google)

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Re: Lunch time

They were reading freely provided, unencrypted transmissions on unregulated frequencies that anyone walking past could have read as well. I still fail to see what was wrong with that legally.

You do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy if you are shouting your details out of your front door.

If they had cracked a single packet of encrypted data, though, they would have been hung up to dry. But they didn't, or at least no evidence was uncovered, so nothing bad happened.

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