Watchdog group demands access to CDC’s COVID communications with Big Tech in lawsuit
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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 12, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch sued for access to communications that the U.S. government may have had with Big Tech companies about the coronavirus.
Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, which was filed in federal court on Wednesday, specifically targets any records of communication between the U.S. Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and Big Tech about COVID-related content on social media platforms.
The government did not reply to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted by Judicial Watch last year, prompting the suit, the watchdog group said in a press release on Wednesday. The FOIA request sought:
“Any and all records of communication between CDC officials and/or employees and employees, agents, and/or representatives of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube concerning, regarding, or relating to COVID-19 related content on company platforms.”
“Such records include, but are not limited to, any advice or instructions issued on disinformation (regarding) COVID-19,” the request added.
“The CDC was required to respond to Judicial Watch’s request by October 29, 2020 but failed to do so,” Judicial Watch said.
Federal officials have communicated closely with Big Tech companies regarding COVID-related issues, including a project to provide the government with Americans’ location data, ostensibly to track the virus.
Three weeks ago, a White House source revealed that the Biden administration, which is filled with numerous Big Tech alums, has been working with Twitter, Facebook, and Google to suppress so-called “COVID misinformation.” “We are talking to them … so they understand the importance of misinformation and disinformation and how they can get rid of it quickly,” the source told Reuters.
“The Biden White House is especially trying to make sure such material ‘does not start trending on such platforms and become a broader movement,’ the source said,” according to Reuters. The companies were “receptive,” the report added. Twitter has confirmed the source’s comments.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Big Tech platforms have purged dissenting voices branded as “misinformation,” often for opposition to continuously changing guidelines by the CDC or the disgraced World Health Organization. Commentators, including LifeSiteNews and Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, have been blacklisted on top social media sites for questioning the ethics and safety of abortion-tainted COVID-19 vaccines and pointing out life-saving, alternative treatments, among other things.
In February, YouTube completely deleted the main channel of LifeSiteNews, offering no specific reason for doing so and no opportunity to appeal. The ban likely was a result of LifeSite’s COVID-19 vaccine coverage.
“YouTube is not staffed by scientists, but by engineers and technicians who understand little to nothing about scientific matters,” Dr. Edward Furton of the National Catholic Bioethics Center said at the time. “Far worse, they favor a liberal ideology that supports abortion not only here at home but throughout the world.”
“Censorship by big tech is one of the greatest threats to the principles of democracy that we have seen in decades. This is done solely for the purpose of controlling information and preventing the free discussion of ideas among their fellow citizens,” he continued.
“The public has the right to know about CDC’s involvement in Big Tech’s outrageous censorship of Americans, including doctors who raise questions about the COVID-19 response,” Fitton said Wednesday. “The Biden administration should stop stonewalling and release the records about the CDC’s role in suppressing the free speech of Americans.”