Why FTC review of GoogleDoubleClick is significant

Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are reporting that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will substantively investigate the proposed Google-DoubleClick merger.

  • This comes on the heels of an AP report that "an Independent European Union panel has launched an investigation into whether Google Inc.'s Internet search engine abides by European Union privacy rules." Google's search share in Europe is reportedly 75% and 90% in Germany, so we should all expect the EU to also play a formal and significant role in the review of Google-Doubleclick.

Why is the FTC review development significant?

Broadband data bills favor Big Government over competition

Senate Democrats are attempting to sneak through the back door what they cannot get through the front door of the "free and open"  policy process.

The Inouye "Broadband Data Improvement Act" is really a long term trojan horse for net neutrality and heavy regulation of broadband.

  • The bill requires that the FCC "establish a new definition of second generation broadband to reflect a data rate that is not less than the data rate required  to reliably transmit full-motion, high definition video." 
    • "Reliable" "high-definition" broadband is certainly not DSL or existing cable modems.

The clever ruse in this innocuous-sounding language is to redefine broadband competition as a total abject failure, and to declare broadband market failure, so the pro-regulatory types can regulate broadband becuase it is not competitive, or is at best a future duopoly.

Welcome back to the "slimmed-down" Open Internet Coalition II

I'd like to welcome back to the playing field, the reconstituted "ItsOurNet Coalition" which inexplicably went away in January, but has now returned as "The Open Internet Coalition!"

Now we finally know what they were doing while they were gone from the scene for four months...

  • They were losing weight.
  • The coalition shed the excess pounds of Microsoft, Yahoo, and Amazon.
    • Who needs them!
    • It must have been too burdensome for Google to have to accomodate these more reasonable and less-regulatory members of the previous ItsOurNet coalition.
  • Now the new "slimmed down" coalition can be faster, more nimble and united around being pro-regulatory for others.
    • The remaining coalition members are a much tighter and cohesive bunch.
      • There's now no one big or bold enough to challenge the Big Dog and ringleader Google. 
      • There's also no one in the coalition who believes in a free market broadband policy.
      • And it is basically companies and groups whose common thread is they have hired up all the under-employed pro-regulatory staffers who hate the telcos and cablecos.
      • The remaining group is of one mind -- their nirvana "democracy".

I was frankly surprised that the new group chose not to be forthright and embrace its new "slimmed-down" public physique.

Google Sr Advisor Al Gore is the ringleader of "Google's Poodles"

Self-described "Internet inventor" and former Vice President Al Gore has a newly released book "The Assault on Reason" in which he comes out of the shadows and into the limelight as a leading public proponent of net neutrality.  

The Save the Internet coalition blogged/bragged about the book in its post: Al Gore: Net Neutrality is the key to a better democracy."  They lifted some Gore quotes that gave them lots of "warm fuzzies" inside:

  • “neutrality should be the central tenet that will set us on a path toward an open, democratic Internet where free speech and free markets are encouraged.â€?
    • Wait a minute. The term "net neutrality" was only coined as late as 2002 by a socialist Columbia Law Professor!
    • But Gore claims to have invented the Internet before 1992!
    • Who's right? 
    • Moreover, Mr. Gore, factually the net has never been neutral.
  • “More than one and a half million citizens contacted Congress and more than eight hundred organizations joined the SavetheInternet Coalition, organized by the upstart media reform organization Free Press, using innovative online mobilization tactics …â€?
    • Thank you Mr. Gore from coming out from the shadows and coming clean by publicly endorsing the efforts of, and tacitly acknowledging your strong ringleader role in managing "Google's poodles",  SaveTheInternet and FreePress.
    • The still unanswered question is how many tens of millions of dollars has Mr. Gore made from his boatload of Google options/warrants granted to him as "Senior Advisor" to Google?"
    • And where are the disclosures in the book that most all of Mr. Gore's multi-ten million dollar net worth is in Google shares -- constituting a huge undisclosed conflict of interest on the issue of net neutrality.    
  • “I truly believe the most important factor is the preservation of the Internet’s potential for becoming the new neutral marketplace of ideas that is so needed for the revitalization of American democracy,â€? he writes. “People are not only fighting for free speech online, but they are also working to keep the Internet a decentralized, ownerless medium of mass communication and commerce.â€?

Senate Chairman Kohl urges DOJ block XM-Sirius merger

Senate Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Kohl (D-WI) wrote the DOJ urging them to block the XM-Sirius merger.

It is an exceptionally persuasive and compelling letter that effectively eviscerates XM-Sirius' contention that satellite radio is not a separate market.

  • The Senate antitrust experts have concluded it is a separate market, making this a classic attempt to merge to monopoly.

I believe this letter is a good "precursor" for what the DOJ will think and do.

This letter also reached the same conclusion I reached shortly after the merger was announced and which I blogged on in my previous post "XM-Sirius: The emperor has no clothes" 3-31-07.

House "spyware" legislation oblivious to Google's "pryware"

The Post Gazette reports today that:

  • "The House passed legislation Tuesday to combat the criminal use of Internet spyware and scams aimed at stealing personal information from computer users.

    Spyware, said bill sponsor Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., "is one of the biggest threats to consumers on the Internet." She and other lawmakers cited estimates that up to 90 percent of computers in this country are infected with some form of spyware.

    Spyware is software that secretly collects information about a person or organization and sends it to another entity without the user's consent..."

Why the public interest groups are "Google's Poodles"

Nick Carr wrote a dead-on column in the Gaurdian: "The net is being carved up into information plantations."

His thesis is the irony that as the web adds more and more destinations on line, fewer people seem to be visiting them.

  • He cites statistics that in 2001, the top 10 websites accounted for 31% of page views and that in 2006 that same number grew to  40%.

What's my point? You know I always have a tie in.

This hyper-media concentration that is occurring on the web is much much greater than has occurred in traditional media.

Google admiting its IP kleptomania addiction? first step to recovery?

Scotland's Sunday Herald reports that : "INTERNET SEARCH engine Google is understood to have reached deals with several large UK news groups over carrying their content on Google News."

This news is on the heels of Google settling with Agence Presse and the Associated Press in separate settlements over IP theft.

  • Three data points!
  • Seems like an emerging pattern of tacit admission of guilt to rampant IP Kleptomania.   

The real question is:

  • Has Google made the first step to recovery from it's IP kleptomania by admiting it has an addiction problem?
  • Probably not.
  • Most everyone has heard that to truly recover from an addiction, like Google's pathological theft of everyone's intellectual property, one has to be able to publicly admit a problem exists and is hurting others.
  • Unfortunately, Google seems to still be in denial.
    • Where's the public mea culpa?
    • Sneaking back room settlements/bribes to make a problem go away does not inspire any trust that the stealing will stop.
  • Where's the settlement with:
    • Viacom for its YouTube thefts?
    • With the studios for aiding and abetting illegal downloading of pirated movies?
    • Publishers and authors for copying their works without compensation?
    • For trademark owners who have to pay only Google for keyword extortion so competitor's can't buy competitor's trademarks to send traffic to their site?

Come clean Google.  

SaveTheInternet effectively endorses "digital socialism"

SaveTheInternet and net neutrality proponents are losing their populist message discipline, and starting to show their true philosphical colors in blatantly calling for what is effectively "digital socialism."

Andrew Rasiej, the founder of The Personal Democracy Forum, challenged Presidential candidates to become the next "Tech President" in a recent blogpost. It's important to note that his views are mainstream in the net neutrality movement as evidenced by the hearty endorsement they received by SaveTheInternet and by Wired Magazine Blog.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths