NetCompetition: To Advance Internet Openness & Freedom, FCC Transparently Leads by Example

NetCompetition: To Advance Internet Openness & Freedom, FCC Transparently Leads by Example

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, November 21, 2017, Contact:  Scott Cleland 703-217-2407

 

Kudos to the Pai FCC for Unprecedented Transparency in Restoring Internet Openness & Freedom

 

WASHINGTON D.C. – The following may be attributed to Scott Cleland, Chairman of NetCompetition:

 

“We look forward to reading with the public the FCC’s proposed Restore Internet Freedom Order tomorrow, three weeks before a public vote. This is how a good government regulatory process works, and how leading by example is done -- letting everyone see what is being voted on, three weeks before the vote, so that those affected can exercise their constitutional and due process rights of assembly and petitioning their government, and then the FCC Commissioners can consider the public’s input, and then vote.”

 

“This open and transparent Pai FCC process is in stark contrast to how the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order process was handled, where the public and those most affected, could not see or discuss what the FCC actually voted on, until weeks after the FCC voted, when their views were moot.”

 

State Attorneys General Can Expose Google’s Pervasive Anti-Consumer Practices -- My Daily Caller op-ed

 

Please don’t miss my latest Daily Caller op-ed, “State Attorneys General Can Expose Google’s Pervasive Anti-Consumer Practices.”

 

Implications of DOJ’s Potential Challenge of the AT&T Time Warner Merger

While I agree with the economic liberty, principled approach of limited government and a reduction in regulation that DOJ Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, explained in his remarks before the ABA’s Antitrust forum today, I also believe in the equally important economic liberty principles of equal protection under the law and due process. Both are important to fair and equal antitrust administration of Justice in a free market.

Since the DOJ apparently is telegraphing its intention to file suit to block the AT&T-Time-Warner merger, because it reportedly prefers structural remedies over behavioral remedies, I appreciate that for the DOJ to prevail in court, it must operate a fair merger review process, and prove its case on the merits in a court of law.  

In the specific case of the AT&T-Time-Warner merger, which was considered in 2016 and announced October 22, 2016, the companies evaluated the merger based on the known, long-standing, consistent, vertical-integration, legal precedents at that time and that today remain the operative legal antitrust precedents in court.

Google Amazon & Facebook are Standard Monopoly Distribution Networks

 

Washington increasingly is asking what are Google, Amazon, and Facebook?

That’s because they seem to be in the middle of many vexing problems spanning culture, politics, civility, economics, competition, jobs, investment, national security, public safety, consumer welfare, etc.

At core, Google, Amazon, and Facebook are unregulated, economy-wide, distribution networks, that de facto are taking control over core economic processes.

They are modern-day Standard Oils. Google is Standard Data. Amazon is Standard Commerce. Facebook is Standard Social.

Doubt it? Consider reality.

Standard Data: Alphabet-Google is the distribution network for over 4 billion search users, 2 billion Android devices, 15 million publisher partners, 5 million advertiser clients, and 400,000 Android developers. Google’s network has over 200 data-capturing products and services, 15 of the world’s fastest, highest-capacity data centers, and 2000 server points of presence in over 150 countries.

Google commands 19 of the top 25 Android apps downloaded over a billion times including: Search, Play, Gmail, Maps, YouTube, Google+, Text-to-Speech, Chrome, Play Books, Play Games, Play Music, Play Newsstand, Play Movies & TV, Drive, Photos, and StreetView.

Treat Cause Not Symptom of Google & Facebook’s Election Unaccountability -- Daily Caller Op-ed

Please don’t miss my Daily Calller op-ed: “Treat The Cause Not the Symptom of Google & Facebook’s Election Unaccountability.”

Google’s Government Influence Nixed Competition for Winner-Take All Results

Facts are stubborn things.

Know what one finds when one puts the evidence of Google’s many antitrust, IP, and privacy offenses into one telling timeline of what Google did from 2008-2017?

One sees a tale of two terms. Commendably, the evidence shows the first Obama Administration term featured very tough antitrust, IP, and privacy law enforcement against Google. Sadly, the second term was the direct opposite – featuring virtually no antitrust, IP, or privacy law enforcement against Google.

Know what one finds when one overlays the telling timeline of improper influence of Google’s Government Guardians, i.e. senior Google executives and outside counsels placed in all the right places to protect and advance Google’s business -- with the timeline of Google’s antitrust, IP, and privacy law enforcement problems?

One can see predictable patterns. Shortly after Google Guardians show up, those Google’s government problems go away. Same administration, different personnel, near completely opposite outcomes. It’s a quintessential example of the old Washington adage that “personnel is policy.”

Asymmetric Absurdity in Communications Law & Regulation

You can’t make this stuff up.

Asymmetric Realities: The five most valuable companies – Apple $802b, Alphabet-Google $688b, Microsoft $585b, Facebook $500b, and Amazon $475b – are together worth an unprecedented $3 trillion and widely-appreciated to be dominant in the communications-driven businesses of smartphones, search advertising, subscription business productivity software, social advertising, and ecommerce platform services respectively.

In Washington’s theater of the absurd, these well-known, winner-take-all platforms, are playing the role of victims of potential harms, that supposedly can’t afford to shoulder the potential risks for the potential net neutrality problems that they allege are potentially serious, when they produce $131b annually in free cash flow and have $357b in cash (mostly overseas).

CDA Section 230’s Asymmetric Accountability Produces Predictable Problems

Ever wonder why Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, and their Internet Association allies are caught repeatedly enabling so many dreadful activities on their platforms? There’s minimal risk to them in doing so.

Everyone knows if there is no perceived risk for doing certain wrongs for money, many people certainly will do those wrongs, or look the other way while others do those wrongs on their property for the money, because they’ve learned they can get away with it.

It’s not only human nature, but it’s also a fundamental failure of government’s first purpose to protect its citizenry -- when zero-deterrence for certain wrongs on a certain technology is de facto American policy.

In 1996, a well-intentioned Congress passed a balanced Communications Decency Act (CDA) as an amendment to the 1996 Telecom Act, that on one hand would prevent “obscene, harassing, and wrongful utilization of telecommunications facilities” (Title V) and on the other hand, would create legal “protection for ‘Good Samaritan’ blocking and screening of offensive material” (Title II, Section 230).

Together, Congress intended that certain content was harmful, thus it made sense to provide “Good Samaritan” immunity for websites that in good faith removed the types of content the original CDA found harmful.

Online-Offline Asymmetric Regulation Is Winner-Take-All Government Policy

Online-offline asymmetric regulation is the biggest persistent competition problem in the economy for the next decade. 

Asymmetric commercial treatment by the Government predictably produces asymmetric market outcomes. Everyone knows how an unfair playing field or unfair rules of the game produce favored winners and disfavored losers.

Internet myth is that Google, Facebook, Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, and their “intermedia” Internet Association brethren deserve to be winner-take-all because they are more innovative and better for consumers than offline companies.

The reality is that these companies common “winner-take-all special sauce” is old-fashioned regulatory arbitrage, of its special Section 230 intermediary immunity from liability, regulation, and accountability.

To date, the intermedia’s decade-long, bankrolling and public leadership of the Title II net neutrality regulation of broadband effort, has been a spectacularly effective diversion of public and government attention from the intermedia’s regulatory arbitrage of their winner-take-all, asymmetric regulation advantages.

Google Amazon & Facebook’s Section 230 Immunity Destructive Double Standard

Congress is learning a predictable lesson that blanket immunization of a technology from accountability to law enforcement, and normal societal responsibility to others, creates unjust and destructive outcomes from a double standard of justice.

Google, Amazon, Facebook, Uber, and Airbnb are also learning a predictable lesson that opposing the unopposable for self-serving business reasons spotlights their increasingly indefensible “Monopoly” “get-out-of-jail-free” card, Section 230 immunity, that’s available only in the U.S. for online platforms.

This lesson is happening because a bipartisan Senate bill -- the “Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act” (SESTA S.1693) -- proposes to amend Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act to clarify that its immunization of online platforms from liability was never intended to shield knowing enablement of child sex trafficking from criminal prosecution.

Tuesday, a Senate Commerce Committee hearing will spotlight the gravity and depravity of how this well-intentioned, Internet-infancy, law to advance freedom of speech online, has caused unacceptable unintended consequences today for the most vulnerable among us.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths