An open letter to Eric Schmidt : Why we fear Google

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Will European politics cave in or wake up? The institutions in Brussels have never been so important. An archaic question of power is to be decided. Is there a chance for an autonomous European digital infrastructure or not? It is a question of competitiveness and viability for the future. Voluntary self-subjugation cannot be the last word from the Old World. On the contrary, the desire of the European digital economy to succeed could finally become something for European policy, which the EU has so sorely missed in the past few decades: an emotional narrative.

You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist

16 years of data storage and 16 years experience by tens of thousands of IT developers has established a competitive edge which can no longer be offset with economic resources alone. Since Google bought “Nest” it knows in even more detail what people do within their own four walls. And now Google is also planning driverless cars, in order to compete in the long term with the car industry from Toyota to VW. Google will then not only know where we drive our cars but how we are occupying ourselves when we are in the car. Forget Big Brother – Google is better!

Against this background it greatly concerns me that Google – which has just announced the acquisition of drone manufacturer “Titan Aerospace” – has been seen for some time as being behind a number of planned enormous ships and floating working environments that can cruise and operate in the open ocean. What is the reason for this development? You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to find this alarming, especially if you listen to the words of Google founder and major shareholder Larry Page.

What impact does it have on our society?

He dreams of a place without data-protection laws and without democratic accountability. „There’s many, many exciting and important things you could do that you just can’t do because they’re illegal“, Page said back in 2013, continuing „ ...we should have some safe places where we can try out some new things and figure out what is the effect on society, what’s the effect on people, without having to deploy kind of into the normal world.“

Does this mean that Google is planning to operate in a legal vacuum, without troublesome antitrust authorities and data protection? A kind of superstate that can navigate its floating kingdom undisturbed by any and all nation-states and their laws?

Until now the concerns were the following: What will happen if Google continues to expand its absolutely dominant market power? Will there be even less competition? Will the European digital economy be thrown back even further compared to the few American super corporations? Will consumers become even more transparent, more heteronomous and further manipulated by third parties – be it for economic or political interests? And what impact do these factors have on our society?

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