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Online Privacy

Top Takeaways from FTC's Google Antitrust Decisions -- Part 16 Google Unaccountability Series

Summary of Top Takeaways from the FTC's Google Antitrust Decisions:

  1. Google's U.S. search bias win establishes a broad Internet-friendly FTC antitrust enforcement precedent.
  2. Google has already lost on search bias in the EU.
  3. Those harmed by anti-competitive behavior are now much less likely to seek redress from the FTC.
  4. The FTC effectively has redefined self-regulation to include self-enforcement too, establishing a new de-facto FTC "honor system" for potential Section 5 Internet antitrust problems.
  5. The FTC's decision effectively makes the FTC Section 5 authority largely irrelevant in Internet enforcement going forward.
  6. The FTC's Standards Essential Patents consent order means Google's core reason for buying Motorola has backfired and the primary perceived benefit of the acquisition is largely nullified.
  7. Google's 2013 enforcement risk is centered in the EU on antitrust, privacy and intellectual property.

1. Google's U.S. search bias win establishes a broad Internet-friendly FTC antitrust enforcement precedent.

The Real Motive behind Opposition to Broadband Usage Pricing -- Part 13 Broadband Internet Pricing Freedom Series

Now we know the real reason why there has been such strong opposition by FreePress and other net neutrality proponents to the common sense economic notion of broadband usage pricing. The newly launched Open Wireless Movement now wants to turn everyone's home WiFi routers into interconnected, free, public-community, "open WiFi" hotspots.

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."

"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.

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.

The New Internet Association's Back Story

Google, Amazon, eBay, and Facebook reportedly are launching a new Internet Association in mid-September to be "the unified voice of the Internet economy, representing the interests of America's leading Internet companies and their global community of users. The Internet Association is dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect an open, innovative and free Internet."

What is the back story here? Why is it being formed? Why now? What unites these companies? What is the Internet Association's public policy agenda? What does its formation mean?

Why is the Internet Association being formed?

The main public policy catalyst was bipartisan anti-piracy legislation that was moving swiftly through Congress last year that Google, Amazon, eBay and Facebook all strenuously opposed and helped defeat with an unprecedented Internet blackout day in January.

Google's Culture of Unaccountability: In their Own Words -- (Google Unaccountability Series: Part II)

We learn about Google's culture-of-unaccountability from Google itself. Google's leaders have repeatedly indicated their hostility to accountability of most any type.

Listen to Google's own words to learn about their unique and unabashed corporate culture-of-unaccountability.

"New investors will fully share in Google's long-term economic future but will have little ability to influence its strategic decisions through their voting rights." Google's 2004 IPO letter to prospective shareholders from co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Questions to Ask at Google-Fiber Announcement

Listed below are pertinent questions to ask Google at its Google Fiber announcement July 26th, given Google's "launch-first, fix-later" philosophy, and its PR practice of omitting material facts and information. (See the Google-Kansas City Agreement here.)

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths