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Conflict of Interest

Announcing My New Book: Search & Destroy Why You Can't Trust Google Inc.

I've long thought there was a big untold story about Google, essentially a book all about Google, but told from a user's perspective, rather than the well-worn path of Google books told largely from Google's own paternal perspective.

 

 

 

Given that Google is the most ubiquitous, powerful and disruptive company in the world, it seemed logical to me that users, and people affected by Google, had a lot of important and fundamental questions about Google that no book had ever tried to answer in a straightforward and well-defended manner.

Google vs Apple: How Business Models Drive Disrespect vs Respect for Privacy

How business models are aligned or not with users' privacy interests, will be spotlighted at the Senate Judiciary hearing Tuesday on "Protecting Mobile Privacy" featuring Google and Apple officials as witnesses.

 

  • Expect the term "privacy conflict of interest" to become more common and important as companies who don't work for users, hurtle into the future increasingly tracking, analyzing and using users' private information and behavior without users' meaningful consent.

 

While the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy will hear from both Google and Apple witnesses on how their companies handle users' WiFi location data, their testimony will provide stark contrast in the companies' privacy conflicts of interests.

Google vs Apple concerning alignment with users' interests:

First, 97% of Google's ~$30b in annual revenues comes from advertisers, whereas ~99% of Apple's ~$87b in annual revenue comes directly from customers who buy and use Apple's products and services.

 

Google Locks-in its One Click Away Defense -- Google's Pinocchio Defense: Part IX

In responding to the growing uproar of hypocrisy over comments made during Google's investor call by Google's CFO that "...everybody that uses Chrome gives us a guaranteed locked-in user" for Google," Brandi Sparkles, Google's renowned crisis PR expert, held a press conference today for just Google-friendly media.

 

  • Brandi Sparkles was joined on the Mountain View dais by Google's Official Keeper of the Google Narrative, Mr. Stori Spinner, and Director of Google's "That Was Not Us" Office, Ms. Anne Teetrust-Violet.

 

Brandi Sparkles read the following statement to friendly reporters and did not take any questions, in keeping with Google CEO Larry Page's new approach to the media.

"All discussion of Chrome and how it gives Google a "locked-in user," and that "the lifetime value of a Chrome user is phenomenal," that some claim occurred on last week's Google earnings call, was not authorized by me, so it simply did not happen.

We are in the process of innovatively "tweaking" our search algorithm so you will not find any evidence to the contrary. Only the extensive remarks by new CEO Larry Page on the call should be considered official, and his comments should be more than enough information and transparency to put this issue permanently to rest.

DOJ: Google Misrepresents Govt. Security Certification -- Google's Federal Rap Sheet Grows

Google's ignominious Federal rap sheet only grows longer.

 

  • Friday the DOJ effectively charged Google with misrepresentation to the public.
    • Google represented that its cloud service for Government was certified under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) since last July, when in fact it was not FISMA-certified for the product that Google claimed it was.
  • This latest Google misrepresentation revelation came in a DOJ filing to the Federal Court which is hearing Google's case against the Department of Interior of the U.S. Government:
    • "On December 16, 2010, counsel for the Government learned that, notwithstanding Google's representations to the public at large, its counsel, the GAO and this court... Google does not have FISMA certification for Google Apps for Government."

 

I.   What does this mean?

Implications of DOJ-Google/ITA Antitrust Settlement

There are many major going-forward implications resulting from the DOJ's latest antitrust enforcement action against Google -- this time to mitigate the anti-competitive effects of the proposed Google-ITA transaction.

 

 

 

Summary of Implications:

  1. Google is clearly the DOJ's main antitrust concern.
  2. DOJ is 4-0 against Google while FTC is 0-2.
  3. DOJ concludes Google is a monopoly -- again.
  4. Remarkably, Google is actively choosing a regulated future for itself.
  5. Google is choosing the trajectory of a regulated antitrust remedy long term over the trajectory of a break-up remedy.
  6. The narrow market definition is good news for those privately suing Google for antitrust violations.
  7. The Google-ITA "firewall" will prove very difficult for the DOJ to police effectively.
  8. The complaint mechanism is important.

 

Google's Deceptive "one click away" Antitrust Defense -- Part VIII Google Antitrust Pinocchio Series

As reports swirl that the FTC and DOJ may be considering a formal antitrust investigation of Google, like the EU already launched in November 2010, Google continues its deceptive, one-dimensional, superficial, antitrust defense mantra that "competition is one click away," and that Google is only focused on users and innovation.

 

  • It is telling that just last week the FTC charged Google with deceptive privacy practices, and Google tacitly admitted its public deceptiveness and misrepresentation in submitting to the FCC's consent order; so I am not alone here in charging that Google is deceptive and misrepresents itself to the public.

 

So how is Google's antitrust defense deceptive?

First, Google's stale four-year antitrust mantra that competition is but a click away and Google puts users first, is deceptive because Google knows full well that competition and antitrust involves much more than just users -- as they claim -- but an entire competitive ecosystem.

 

Key Questions for Google's New CEO Larry Page

When the world's most powerful company gets a new CEO for the first time in a decade, everyone naturally has a lot of questions.

 

  • When new Google CEO Larry Page decides to become accessible to people outside the insular Googleplex, here are some key questions to ask Mr. Page about: priorities, management philosophy, privacy, antitrust, intellectual property, and social responsibility.

 

 

Priorities:

FTC-Google Privacy Settlement Takeaways

The proposed FTC-Google privacy settlement of EPIC's privacy complaint has many important, surprising, and far-reaching implications.

 

I applaud the FTC for taking Google's privacy misrepresentations and deceptions so seriously and look forward to the FTC rigorously enforcing this landmark consent order.

    Summary of Takeaways:

     

    Is Google Android a Counterfeit Operating System?

    Three completely different entities, coming from three very different perspectives/motivations, are all making the same charge against Google: that Google forged their work and stole/misused their property in creating its world-leading Android mobile operating system.

    Google's No Privacy by Design Business Model

    Popular bipartisan interest in safeguarding consumers privacy in the U.S. and Europe confronts Google with a core strategic problem because Google's targeted advertising business model is no "privacy by design" and no "privacy by default."

     

    • Google bet wrong and big in assuming that since technology made it so much easier to track and profile users for targeted advertising, users would just accept the new loss of privacy and users and governments would never enforce user demand for choice to protect their privacy.
    • Google's all-in company bet on openness, transparency, and sharing, was also a strategic bet against robust privacy, security, and property protections.
    • In choosing to brand itself as the penultimate "White Hat" player promoting "openness," Google has effectively designed its business, architecture, and brand to be the main "Black Hat" player on privacy.

     

    Google's No Privacy By Design model is unique.

     

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