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FTC-Google Antitrust: The Obvious Case for Consumer Harm -- Part 10 Google Unaccountability Series

Despite reports questioning the evidence of consumer harm in the FTC antitrust investigation of Google, it's obviously there if the FTC chooses to charge Google under its Section 5 authority which prohibits "unfair or deceptive acts or practices." The legal threshold for proving consumer harm under Section 5 versus the Sherman Act is dramatically easier for the FTC prosecution to meet. Thus press reports about Google consumer harm are implicitly more about the furious debate over which law(s) to use than it is about the provability of consumer harm.

A main argument the FTC made to win the turf battle over which antitrust agency would lead the Google antitrust investigation, the DOJ or FTC, was that the FTC had Section 5 authority, in addition to the Sherman Act anti-monopolization authority that the DOJ and FTC both share. Unlike antitrust precedent from the Sherman Act, which guides that consumer harm should outweigh any offsetting innovation or consumer benefits, Congress in Section 5 declared deceiving consumers is illegal harm of consumers.

Could Google Be the Lance Armstrong of Tech? Internet as Oz Series Part 5

David Carr's (NYT) excellent analysis of how the mainstream media missed the truth behind cycling legend Lance Armstrong's systematic cheating and deception -- that ultimately led to the International Cycling Union stripping him of his seven Tour de France titles, to Nike dropping him as a sponsor, and to his resignation as Chairman of his cancer-survivor foundation LIveStrong -- got me thinking about the many sad parallels there are with how the mainstream media and blogosphere have missed the truth behind tech legend Google's systematic cheating and deception.

Just like the mainstream and sports media had much self-interest and fear in challenging Mr. Armstrong's representations, i.e. the loss of advertising and reporter access to top people in the sport, the mainstream media and tech blogosphere also have much self-interest and fear in challenging Google's representations, because Google is the overwhelming source of Internet traffic for the media (via Google Search, News, YouTube, and Android), and is also the primary monetization mechanism for the blogosphere.

Google Official Praises "Partly Free" Regime's New Privacy Law -- Internet as Oz Series Part 4

Google's Global Privacy Counsel, Peter Fleischer, cheered Singapore in his blog for passing a "modern privacy law" as a way of denouncing the EU's "out of date" privacy law and its recent threat to enforce it against Google.

Fully exhibiting a couple of the most common Google PR traits, a lack of self-awareness and an instinct for political polarization, Mr. Fleischer effectively lectured the world that it should emulate the privacy lawmaking of a hybrid-authoritarian regime, Singapore, as he denounced and belittled the privacy lawmaking of European democracies. How Orwellian this is, to praise the politically authoritarian treatment of the Singaporean people as "modern," and to denounce the democratic concern for the individual liberties of EU citizens as "bizarre" and "out of date."

The Unique Google Privacy Problem -- My Presentation to Korean Privacy Council in Seoul

Please see my new powerpoint presentation here: "The Unique Google Privacy Problem; Why Google's Forced-Integrated Privacy Policy is So Problematic," which I presented to the Korea Council on the Protection of Personal Information in Seoul Korea this week.

Please don't miss slide 4: "Google's Monopoly Power = Unique Global Privacy Problem: Unfathomable Scale, Scope and Centralization of Private Info." It provides the latest eye-popping stats on Google's rapidly spreading dominance into video, mobile and social.

Also important not to miss are slides 9-10, which present my new conclusions about what Google's forced-integration of its privacy policy means for sovereign nations and the world at large, given the EU/CNIL's strong challenge last week to Google's privacy policy changes without user permission or opt-out option.

This analysis should be of great interest to the ~35 privacy authorities around the world which currently oppose Google's forced-integrated privacy policy (and other nations and privacy professionals as well), because it provides strong evidence, supporting rationale and conclusions to help nations address the #1 global privacy problem.

 

"Pro-trust" EU Competition Remedies for Google's Antitrust Violations

Google remains its own worst enemy in trying to resolve EU antitrust charges.

In early 2012, when Google was trying to convince EU antitrust authorities that enforcement action against Google's search practices -- preferring its own content in search ranking over competitors -- would only harm consumers and was unnecessary because competition was but "a click away" for consumers, Google announced it would consolidate 60 privacy policies without user permission or user choice to opt-out, and then did it a month later, over the EU's strong objections.

This was a flagrant strategic mistake because: first the EU prides itself for strong consumer privacy laws and privacy protections; second the EU fully-understands that consumers' privacy is the de facto currency that Google uses to propel its monopoly; and third Google's primary antitrust defense is that they are the ones that are best looking out for consumers interests and that consumers have plenty of choice.

Spotlighting Google's Politicization of the Law Enforcement Process -- My Politico Letter to Editor

Politico published my 500-word rebuttal of Tom Lenard's op-ed "FTC should drop case against Google," as a Letter to the Editor, which you can see here, and also as an online op-ed called: Opinion: Google's political play.

In it, I succinctly expose how "Google often plays politics to evade law enforcement culpability."

Google's Top Ten Anti-Privacy Quotes -- Part 3 In Google's Own Words Series

It's timely to review Google's public attitude towards privacy, given reports that the EU officially has found legal fault with Google's big change in its privacy policy last March, in which Google forced integration of sixty previously-separate privacy policies on users without explicit user consent.

Google: in its own words:

Top False Claims of the New Internet Association -- Part 2 of Internet as Oz Series

Unfortunately, the new Internet Association launched yesterday making several false claims.

Claim: "The Internet Association, the nation's first trade association representing the interests of the Internet economy, America's leading Internet companies and their vast community of users…"

Truth: This "first" claim is unsupportable; several different Internet groups have had similar purposes long before this Internet Association: The Internet Society; The Internet Engineering Task Force; Net Coalition; SaveTheInternet.com; The Open Internet Coalition; The Internet Defense League; The Internet Freedom Coalition; The Internet Alliance; The Internet Marketing Association; The Internet Commerce Association and The Internet Infrastructure Coalition.

What made Apple's Steve Jobs so Angry with Google-Android? -- Part 12 of Google's Disrespect for Property Series

What made Apple's Steve Jobs so Angry with Google-Android? The simple answer is Google's leadership profoundly betrayed the longtime personal trust and friendship of Apple's leadership in stealing what Steve Jobs believed were Apple's most prized possessions. The fuller answer is below, in a telling timeline of the once exceptionally-close Apple-Google relationship.

This discussion is timely given Google's current PR effort to convince the public/media that Google and Apple are likely to negotiate a patent "truce" and make Google's Android's patent liabilities go away. Thus it makes sense to drill down to learn more about the real likelihood of Apple being party to any patent-litigation "truce" or grand Apple-Android patent-licensing settlement.

Four Under-Appreciated Implications for Google from Apple-Samsung Verdict -- Part 11 of Google's Disrespect for Property Series

Apple's major $1.05b patent court victory over Google-Android partner Samsung has four under-appreciated implications for Google going forward.

  1. The purported Google-Apple settlement talks are going nowhere.
  2. Google-Apple patent talks compound antitrust risk.
  3. Google's actions, defense strategy, and IP track record drip of guilt and legal vulnerability.
  4. Google's acquisition of Motorola has backfired badly.

1.  The purported Google-Apple settlement talks are going nowhere.

Think about it. Whose interest is it to spotlight a phone conversation between Google's CEO Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook and characterize the conversation as an indicator of a coming "truce" or "détente" in the thermonuclear war" between Apple and Google? Google's alone.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths