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Google’s Serial Bad Acts Harm American Interests in Europe
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2014-11-28 11:52
Google has no shame. Google is throwing stones at Europe while living in a glass house.
In response to a non-binding resolution passed by a 384-174 vote by the European Parliament to urge the European Commission to enforce European law against Google’s search engine >90% dominance of the European digital market, Google has advanced three self-serving, America-harming, PR narratives that the overwhelming evidence shows are untrue.
One American bad apple is spoiling it for the whole American bunch.
First, Google shamelessly plays the victim acting like it hasn’t done anything wrong worthy of European law enforcement when Google knows the evidence proves it is a serial bad actor with the worst antitrust, privacy, and property infringement rap sheet of any American multinational in Europe or the world.
Second, Google shamelessly has talking points accusing Europe of “politicizing” antitrust when Google arguably is among the most political multi-national corporations of the 21st century routinely politicizing privacy, antitrust, copyright and patents, as censorship of free speech, or breaking the Internet, all while mimicking sovereign nations with the equivalent of its own foreign policy.
Third, Google shamelessly accuses Europe of a protectionist industrial policy, when Google is the prime beneficiary of America’s Internet industrial policy that ensures that Google and Silicon Valley have relatively the least tax, regulation, and law enforcement of any American corporations, and when Google promotes protectionist industrial policies in the U.S. for its commercial benefit.
Consider the overwhelming evidence that Google bad acts and misrepresentations have harmed American interests.
Google’s a Serial Bad Actor
Google claims clean hands it does not have. Google has a terrible antitrust, privacy and copyright infringement record in the U.S.
Google’s bad acts have prompted more American antitrust enforcement than any American company over the last decade.
In 2008, the Bush DOJ determined Google was dominant in search and search advertising and threatened a Sherman Act monopolization case to block Google’s attempt to enter an ad agreement with Yahoo. The Obama DOJ Google affirmed Google’s dominance in search and search advertising in allowing the normally unallowable merger of #2 Microsoft and #3 Yahoo’s search operations in order to better counter Google’s dominance.
In 2009, the DOJ sanctioned Google for anti-competitive collusion with other companies to prevent their employees from getting a fair market price for their services.
In 2009: Google's CEO was forced off competitor Apple's board of directors by the FTC for anti-competitive coordination.
In 2011, DOJ threatened to sue Google over its acquisition of ITA if it did not agree to restrictions and court supervision.
In 2013, the FTC in a Google antitrust settlement required Google to “meet its prior commitments to allow competitors access – on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms – to patents on critical standardized technologies needed to make popular devices such as smart phones, laptop and tablet computers, and gaming consoles.” Google also agreed to stop misappropriating others’ content and representing it as its own.
Internationally, Google’s Anti-Competitive Rap Sheet catalogues Google’s commission of 14 distinct types of competition law violations in four different countries and the EU -- spanning every single year from 2008 to 2014, save for 2012. Moreover, Google has been, or is currently, under investigation by competition authorities on five continents, in 12 countries and the EU, for violating their competition laws.
Concerning privacy in 2011, the FTC required Google to implement a comprehensive privacy program to resolve deceptive privacy practices charges in Google’s rollout of Its Buzz social network. Just one year later in 2012, Google violated that FTC settlement and was sanctioned with the largest fine in FTC history, $22.5m, for misrepresenting its privacy assurances to consumers.
Overall Google’s international privacy rap sheet is the worst in the world with 84 privacy violations in eleven countries and the EU.
Concerning criminal behavior, from 2004-2011, after repeated warnings from law enforcement, Google knowingly made it easy for minors to find and buy illegal drugs like steroids and Percocet. In 2011 in a criminal non-prosecution agreement, Google admitted to knowingly and repeatedly violating Federal criminal laws against the “unsafe and unlawfulimportation of prescription drugs" into the U.S. for several years. For this, Google paid a near record $500m criminal forfeiture penalty. The Rhode Island U.S. Attorney who led the Google criminal probe said the evidence was clear that current Google CEO “Larry Page knew what was going on."
Concerning Google’s property infringement, consider the uniquely long list of victims of Google’s piracy and theft who have sued Google for profiting from their property without compensation: Overture, eBay-Paypal, BuySafe, Skyhook Wireless, CamUp, Viacom, Apple, Oracle, Microsoft, wire services, newspapers, broadcasters, movie studios, authors, publishers, visual artists, software providers, photographers, artists, graphic designers, illustrators, and filmmakers.
Consider what Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, the State Attorney General, who has most investigated Google wrongdoing, said to Google CEO Larry Page in an 11-27-13 letter: “In my 10 years as attorney general, I have dealt with a lot of large corporate wrongdoers. I must say that yours is the first I have encountered to have no corporate conscience for the safety of its customers, the viability of its fellow corporations or the negative economic impact on the nation which has allowed your company to flourish.”
The evidence above is overwhelming that Google is a serial bad actor. Associating every other American company with Google’s atrocious record of business behavior, both harms and disserves American interests greatly, because no other American company behaves like Google.
One very bad apple, Google, should not be allowed to spoil the whole bunch here.
Google Politicizes More than Europe
The evidence exposes Google’s serial politicization of law enforcement issues.
Europe is very familiar with Google’s passive-aggressive opposition to Europe’s High Court Right to Be Forgotten ruling, by encouraging evasion via Google.com, and by touring Europe with biased panels opposing the legal decision.
Google’s proposed antitrust settlements with the EC DGComp were deceptive and ineffective in multiple ways see here and here for the detailed evidence of Google’s political misrepresentation of its proposed antitrust settlement with the EC.
Google led the corporate opposition to stronger copyright enforcement by politicizing it as “censorship of free speech” and “breaking the Internet,” in defeating anti-piracy legislation (SOPA-PIPA) in the U.S. and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in Europe.
What other multi-national has single-handedly precipitated a major U.S.-China foreign policy incident when Google went public it was hacked by China like most every other American high tech company had been?
What other multi-national Chairman, than Google’s Eric Schmidt , led a delegation to North Korea, over the strong objections of the U.S. State Department?
What other multi-national Chairman, than Google’s Eric Schmidt, has written a foreign policy opus with a former diplomat telling the world how to run foreign policy; see Mr. Schmidt very political book: “The New Digital Age – Reshaping the Future of People, Nations, and Business.”
Google also spends more money on lobbying in Washington and Europe than most any other company; for example, the Washington Post called Google “a master of Washington influence.”
Politico showed in an article entitled: “D.C. door swinging Google’s way,” how many former Google employees serve, and have served, in the Obama White House on issues of import to Google: privacy, copyright, patents, etc.
Public Citizen, an American consumer watchdog organization, wrote “Mission Creepy,” a detailed report which catalogued that: “Google Is Quietly Becoming One of the Nation’s Most Powerful Political Forces While Expanding Its Information-Collection Empire.”
By any objective measure, Google is a master at politicization of issues. As the old adage goes, it takes one to know one.
Google, a Leading Protectionist, Hypocritically Complains about Protectionism
Google knows it has been the primary beneficiary of an exceptionally successful U.S. Internet industrial policy that has afforded Google and Silicon Valley with the least taxes, regulation, and law enforcement of any American industry.
While Google publicly and categorically has denied any relationship with the NSA, Salon in an article entitled: “Google’s Secret Alliance with Google,” catalogues in detail Google’s very special relationship with the NSA and the commercial benefits Google gained from that secret alliance.
Currently Google, Netflix and Silicon Valley are heavily lobbying the FCC for billions of dollars in price subsidies in urging the FCC to ban a two-sided free market by setting a permanent zero-price for their hugely asymmetric downstream Internet traffic.
In sum, Google is unwisely throwing stones at Europe while living in a glass house.
Google is portraying itself as innocent of being dominant when the U.S. DOJ has concluded that fact three times, and as having clean hands when the overwhelming evidence shows Google is a serial bad actor that has required multiple American law enforcement actions.
Google is also hypocritically and sanctimoniously accusing Europe of politicization when Google is arguably the most political multinational of the 21st century, politicizing privacy, antitrust and copyright infringement as censorship of free speech and breaking the Internet.
And Google hypocritically criticizes Europe for its protectionist policies when Google has benefited most from America’s Internet industrial policy and when Google is currently seeking billions of dollars in protectionist price subsidies from the FCC.
Simply, America should not let one very bad American apple, Google, spoil free trade negotiations with Europe, for the whole American bunch.
Google Unaccountability Series
Part 0: Google's Poor & Defiant Settlement Record [5-1-12]
Part 1: Why Google Thinks It Is Above the Law [4-17-12]
Part 2: Top Ten Untrue Google Stories [5-8-12]
Part 3: Google's Growing Record of Obstruction of Justice [6-21-12]
Part 4: Why FTC's $22.5m Privacy Fine is Faux Accountability [7-12-12]
Part 5: Google's Culture of Unaccountability: In Their Own Words [8-1-12]
Part 6: Google Mocks the FTC's Ineffectual Privacy & Antitrust Enforcement [8-10-12]
Part 7: An FTC Googleopoly Get Out of Jail Free Card? [8-30-12]
Part 8: Top Lessons to Learn for Google Antitrust Enforcers [9-14-12]
Part 9: Google Mocks EU and FTC in Courting Yahoo Again [9-26-12]
Part 10: FTC-Google Antitrust: The Obvious Case of Consumer Harm [11-25-12]
Part 11: Why FTC Can't Responsibly End Google Search Bias Antitrust Investigation [11-27-12]
Part 12: Oversight Questions for FTC's Handling of Google Antitrust Probe [11-30-12]
Part 13: Courts Not FTC Should Decide on Google Practices (The Hill Op-ed) [12-10-12]
Part 14: Troubling Irregularities Mount in FTC Handling of Google Investigation [12-17-12]
Part 15: Top Ten Unanswered Questions on FTC-Google Outcome [1-3-14]
Part 16: Top Takeaways from FTC's Google Antitrust Decisions [1-7-13]
Part 17: Google's Global Antitrust Rap Sheet [1-31-13]
Part 18: Google's Privacy Words vs. its Anti-privacy Deeds [3-8-13]
Part 19: Google's Privacy Rap Sheet Updated - Fact-checking Google's Privacy Claims [3-13-13]
Part 20: DOJ & FTC Report Cards [4-12-13]
Part 21: The Evidence Google Bamboozled EU Competition Authorities [4-19-13]
Part 22: EU-Google: Too Powerful to Prosecute? Problems with Enabling Google [5-1-13]
Part 23: Google's proposed EU Search Bias Remedies: a Satire [5-17-14]
Part 24: Google's Antitrust Rap Sheet Updated [5-27-13]
Part 25: Is This the Track Record of a Trustworthy Company? See Google's Rap Sheet [6-6-13]
Part 26: Top Questions as DOJ-Google Criminal Prosecution Deadline Approaches [7-12-13]
Part 27: The Evidence Google Violated the DOJ Non-Prosecution Agreement [8-8-13]
Part 28: Implications of EU Ruling Google Abused its Search Dominance [9-27-13]
Part 29: Google-YouAd is a Deceptive and Unfair Business Practice [10-24-13]
Part 30: EU's Google Antitrust Problems Not Going Away [12-16-13]
Part 31: How the Google-EC Competition Deal Harms Europe [2-10-14]
Part 32: Open Letter to European Commissioners to Reject EC-Google Settlement [2-16-14]
Part 33: Google’s Extensive Cover-up [2-25-14]
Part 34: An Open Letter on Google’s Opposition to Distracted Driving Legislation [2-27-14]
Part 35: Google’s Widespread Wiretapping [3-20-14]
Part 36: The Growing EC-Google Competition Settlement Scandal – an Open Letter [3-31-14]
Part 37: Google’s Glass House [4-14-14]
Part 38: Google’s Titan Spy-Drones Mimic Military Spy Planes [4-17-14]
Part 39: Google’s Anti-Competitive Rap Sheet Warrants Prosecution not Leniency [4-30-14]
Part 40: Google Apps for Education Dangers [5-17-14]
Part 41: Google AdSense Lawsuit Spotlights the Corruption of Unaccountability [5-23-14]
Part 42: Six Ways the FTC is AWOL on Google [7-16-14]
Part 43: Fact-checking Google’s Public EC Competition Defense [9-21-14]
Part 44: Top 10 Reasons Why Google is Causing EU More Problems than Microsoft Did [10-1-14]
Part 45: Google Profiting from Hacked Celebrity Women Photos is “How Google Works” [10-6-14]
Part 46: Fact-checking Google Schmidt’s “Ich bin ein Big-fibber” Berlin Speech [10-14-14]
Part 47: Google’s Dominance Isn’t Peaking Its Proliferating! [11-4-14]
Part 48: A European Revolution against Google’s Virtual Colonialization? [11-24-14]