We recently got notified that Ind.ie was among the 85 candidates longlisted (out of 400 public nominations) for the Freedom of Expression Awards Fellowship by Index on Censorship.
Unfortunately, we will not be applying to continue for the shortlist as Google is one of their sponsors.
I just replied to them to state our reasons. A copy of the email is below:
Thank you for considering us for your award. Unfortunately, we cannot take part in this due to your choice of sponsors. Specifically, as you have Google as a sponsor.
Google is a company that makes its money via mass surveillance. Its business model is based on profiling you to exploit this intimate insight for its profit and political motives. It’s one of the biggest players in the system that Shoshana Zuboff from Harvard Business School calls “surveillance capitalism.”
I cannot reconcile how you would think they would be a good sponsor for a group, such as yours, that cares about freedom of speech. If we are to maintain freedom of speech (and privacy, as well as the rest of our human rights), it is specifically huge surveillance-based corporate monopolies like Google that we must regulate and replace with ethical alternatives. I can’t see us doing that while organisations such as yours, that have legitimacy in this area, continue to be sponsored by them and thus legitimise them.
Thank you again for thinking of us but Laura and I would rather not be associated with your organisation as long as you’re associated with Google (Alphabet, Inc.)
All the best,
PS. If you’d like to learn more about the dangers of surveillance capitalism and what we can do about it, here are two articles with further information: The Nature of the Self in the Digital Age and Encouraging Individual Sovereignty and a Healthy Commons.