Tech Giants and the Small Print on Your Freedom


University of Toronto Psychology Professor Jordan Peterson has gained some notoriety recently for refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns, and he provides the latest bit of evidence that you’re crazy if you rely solely on Google (or any other single provider) for critical services:

A professor in Canada who refuses to use gender-neutral pronouns and criticizes social justice issues was banned from using his Google and YouTube accounts Tuesday, regaining access hours later with no detailed explanation provided. …

The psychology professor has over 350,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, which he uses as a platform to post his lectures, interviews, and Q&As. …

“I’ve had that [Gmail] account for the last, say, 15 years,” said Peterson to TheDCNF. “All of my correspondence is in that account. It’s hundreds of thousands of emails from people all over the world.”

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Google reviewed its ban and didn’t restore Peterson’s access.  Only after the above article appeared in the Daily Caller did the company reverse its decision… with no explanation.  What if you’re not sufficiently well known to produce a high-profile article?  We must assume that you are therefore subject to censorship and the loss of 15 years of your records, because if you leave them in their digital state on Google’s servers, you don’t own them; you’re producing them for free for Google as marketing assets and political leverage.

We rightly draw a distinction between government actions and corporate actions, because the latter involve voluntary agreements.  The appropriate response, therefore, is to stop voluntarily giving Google government-like leverage over our lives, businesses, and other activities.  As a society, we should deliberately empower competing services so we aren’t at risk of having our lives erased because some social justice warrior has made himself or herself the judge, jury, and executioner of our online lives under a shadowy corporate board issuing moral edicts.

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