Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

The problem with astroturfing

Here’s a new buzzword: ‘astroturfing’ (well, it’s new to me, anyway). It’s when a political or corporate entity creates an artificial ‘grassroots’ movement for their own benefit – an example of this being the New Millennium Research Council, a supposedly grassroots movement opposed to towns and regions creating their own metropolitan wifi networks. In actual fact, the group is owned and sponsored by Issue Dynamics, which is a lobbying firm that represents some of the US’s biggest telecommunications companies, who stand to lose a lot from these networks. CNet dishes the details.
This, however, is neither a new thing nor a US-centric one – in the UK, an umbrella group opposing the construction of wind farms to generate green energy is actually linked to British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL), who obviously have an interest in the government supporting nuclear power over renewable energy. They’ve even opposed wind farms located over 3 miles offshore which would be barely visible on the skyline, and yet said that they would be an eyesore. The project eventually went ahead.

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