Adam Kovacevich, formerly Google’s head of policy and external affairs, has launched a new lobbying group called the Chamber of Progress. The group’s advisory board includes a number of Washington and Big Tech insiders, and their list of “corporate partners” contains essentially all of the big names from social media and the gig economy.
According to Axios, Kovacevich “describes the group as a ‘new tech industry coalition devoted to a progressive society, economy, workforce, and consumer climate.’” This comes across as incredibly disingenuous considering the recent actions of many of their “corporate partners.” Perhaps the most spectacular example is Amazon’s recent PR fiasco involving the attempt to cover up the fact that many of their workers have had to urinate in bottles, and worse, due to the company’s draconian “time off task” rules, difficult delivery schedules, and other policies. However, there are other examples as well, such as the union-busting efforts by Amazon and other partners including Uber, Google, and Facebook; which suggest that these companies are not truly interested in a “progressive” workforce.
Kovacevich said that “Tech is leaving its dirty laundry on the floor, and the next step is marriage counseling,” and that “We can set rules both sides can live with, and smartly minimize tech’s excesses while [we] support what people like about tech.” That’s a pretty bold analogy, considering how easy it would be to compare this situation to the fake apologies and gaslighting of an abusive spouse. More likely these companies have just realized that it would be cheaper to pay for a lobbying group than to keep running multimillion-dollar campaigns every time a law that could affect their profits and/or the rights of their workers comes up.
In light of the recent censorship hearings taking place in Congress, it also seems likely that another part of the group’s mission will be to grease the threading of the needle between Republican play-acting about free speech concerns and the Democrats’ similar theatrics concerning misinformation. Astute readers will note that both parties are…