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D.C. to Investigate Google For Illegal Discrimination

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"Political Affiliation" Discrimination For "Throttling" Republican Emails

WASHINGTON - Amzeal -- The Office of Human Rights [OHR] has said that it will act upon a complaint that Google Inc. illegally discriminated against the Republican National Committee [RNC] by "throttling" Republican emails in violation of the District of Columbia's Human Rights Act which prohibits many different forms of discrimination, including that based upon "political affiliation."

Evidence seems to show that Google's spam filter was much more likely to send Republican emails to a recipient's spam folder than similar ones from Democrats.

As a result, the RNC has charged that Google "throttled" over 28 million fund-raising, get-out-the-vote, and other emails sent by the Republican National Committee, just ahead of the midterm elections, by diverting them to users' Gmail spam folders.

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This new investigation is important for at least two reasons, suggests public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who has won over 100 cases - involving discrimination based upon race, sex, religion, and disability - before the Office.

First, penalties which could be imposed by the Office for such illegal discrimination based upon "political affiliation" could be considerable, says Banzhaf, who notes that Republicans charge that Google's "censorship" has cost GOP candidates over two billion dollars. The RNC terms it "a financially devastating example of Silicon Valley tech companies unfairly shaping the political playing field to benefit their preferred far-left candidates."

This is very different from the now familiar claims that Google is censoring conservatives and other speakers with controversial views where the precise damages might be somewhat conjectural and difficult to prove, says Banzhaf, Here, where monetary damages are capable of proof, the consequences for Google could be much more severe.

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Second, Google has denied the allegations, and especially the suggestion that it acted with the intent of harming Republicans when it designed its email-handling system. In the RNC's words, "Enough is enough — we are suing Google for their blatant bias against Republicans."

However, in the investigation by the District, Google's intent or lack of intent is largely irrelevant. The law the agency enforces says that a "public accommodation" such as Google is guilty of illegal discrimination, and subject to penalties for its violations, if whatever it does simply has the effect or consequence of discriminating on the basis of race, gender, or (in this case) political affiliation, even if the discrimination was neither intentional or negligent.

jbanzhaf3ATgmail.com @profbanzhaf

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Source: Public Interest Law Professor John Banzhaf
Filed Under: Computers

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