Google’s “Mass Indiscriminate Surveillance” Threat to US-EU Data Safe Harbor

Google’s ongoing mass indiscriminate surveillance of Europeans’ private activities could threaten quick resolution of the European Court of Justice’s ruling that the US-EU Data Safe Harbor was invalid given the NSA’s “mass indiscriminate surveillance” exposed by Edward Snowden.

Google’s unique, systematic defiance of European sovereignty on these matters could warrant specifically excluding Google from what could be a timely reconstitution of the US-EU Data Safe Harbor, so that one bad actor does not spoil the whole process for the thousands of companies that have respected their Data Safe Harbor responsibilities.

Net Neutrality Trumping Privacy Undercut the US-EU Data Safe Harbor

Please don't miss my latest Daily Caller Op-ed, “Net Neutrality Trumping Privacy Undercut the US-EU Data Safe Harbor.”

  • It is proof positive of the law of unintended consequences coming home to roost for the U.S. Government.



What Lessig’s Presidential Candidacy Did for Net Neutrality & Copyright

No surprise that political activist Larry Lessig, the intellectual leader of the net neutrality and anti-copyright movements, ran one of the most cynical, undemocratic, and stunt-driven Presidential candidacies ever, because that’s exactly the kind of cynical, undemocratic, stunt-driven campaigns his political followers have run to un-democratically dictate net neutrality and to undermine copyright protection online. 

The “common” thread of Mr. Lessig’s political grand strategies is his core elitist political assumption that people are stupid and that he can manipulate the masses into believing whatever he wants them to believe.  

It is supremely rich and ironic that Mr. Lessig would run a Presidential campaign with the stated singular purpose of ending “corruption” by passing his version of campaign finance reform legislation, with such an apparent corrupt political Presidential campaign strategy. 

Let’s review Mr. Lessig’s stated Presidential campaign strategy to see if it appears corrupt.   

Google’s Gambit to Dominate Spectrum Access Administration

Google is cleverly and stealthily leveraging a Google-friendly-FCC and lax U.S.-Google antitrust enforcement to extend its global Android mobile operating system dominance to increasingly disintermediate and dominate the spectrum administration function embedded in the firmware of smartphones, connected cars, and Internet of Things devices.

Judge Wu’s New York Kangaroo Court for Alleged Internet Traffic Violations

Tim Wu, the self-described “policy advocate,” who coined the term “net neutrality;” who has been a leading activist for preemptively regulating broadband service like a utility despite scant evidence of any problem; who from 2008-2011 was Chair of the pressure group FreePress that ran the notoriously-deceptive “Save The Internet” campaign to force FCC net neutrality regulation that was overturned in court; who has been part of a decade-long PR demonization effort of broadband companies for first not having fast enough broadband speed relative to the world and then for enabling broadband “fast lanes” -- is now the “Senior Enforcement Counsel and Special Advisor” to the New York Attorney General, who is investigating Cablevision, Time Warner Cable and Verizon for allegedly providing broadband service at speeds less than the companies advertise.  

Does U.S. Antitrust Law Apply to Google?


How the DOJ and FTC handle two high-profile Google market behaviors that appear on their face to violate two different U.S. antitrust precedents, will speak volumes to the world about whether U.S. antitrust law still applies to Google, or not.

First, does the DOJ believe that the new search partnership between #3 Yahoo and #1 Google -- in the highly-concentrated U.S. search market -- is anti-competitive like the DOJ concluded previously in opposing the 2008 proposed Google-Yahoo search partnership?

The FCC’s Abjectly Illegitimate Premise for More Cable Regulation

There are troubling signals that the FCC is gearing up to further increase regulation of cable -- on top of the extra-legal new utility regulation the FCC already did in its 2015 Open Internet Order. 

What is profoundly troubling is the abject illegitimacy of their premise for more regulation of cable, i.e. the FCC’s new arbitrary and capricious definition of broadband that illegitimately redefined long-recognized, strong broadband competition -- out of existence with the stroke of a pen.

So what are the signals of more cable regulation? Two speeches from the FCC Chairman, one from the FCC General Counsel, another from the DOJ Antitrust Chief, a variety of Hill and edge-industry entreaties to regulate cable more via new MVPD or ALLVID regulatory proceedings, (but of course without regulating favored edge providers), and an explosion of new opposition to the proposed Charter-Time-Warner merger (by the exact same cast of characters whose opposition doomed the Comcast-Time-Warner merger).

This broad simultaneous level of focused regulatory chatter and organized activity is not coincidental, but highly-orchestrated and abjectly illegitimate.

Why is more cable regulation abjectly illegitimate?   

Why the FCC Approach to Special Access Regulation Is All Wrong

The FCC’s approach to special access is all wrong because they should be doing the exact opposite of what they are doing. The FCC should be price de-regulating special access, not signaling increased micro-regulation of special access rate terms and conditions.

Like an ostrich, the FCC has its head hidden in the sand on its approach to special access regulation, hoping that no one notices that the rest of its body is fully exposed.   

If the FCC can convince everyone to join them and put their heads in the sand too, and to look at special access regulation in the dark of self-defined isolation, and ignore the broader context of the competitive U.S. communications sector visible all around them, the FCC has a reasonable chance of sounding reasonable.

However, if anyone has their head out of the FCC’s regulatory sandpit and looks around for a moment at special access regulation in the broader context of the real world, more special access regulation looks ridiculous, just like the exposed back-end of an ostrich does when it hides its head in the sand.  

Is Google-Alphabet’s Restructuring about Antitrust and Privacy After All?

The world’s self-professed know-it-all apparently does know a lot more than we do.

This piece assembles the evidence that Google’s benign PR explanation and stock-enhancement justification for its Alphabet holding company restructuring -- may be the truth, but apparently is not the whole truth and nothing but the truth, about the structural antitrust and privacy risks ahead that it clearly foresees, but is not disclosing.

What we have learned in the last two months is that Google is much more worried than it says about the risks it faces from a variety of real structural changes it may have to make in its core business overseas in the months and years ahead -- where the vast majority of Google’s users are, and from where over 50% of its revenues come.

FCC’s Double Standard Merger Review Also Warrants Antitrust Modernization

U.S. merger review double standards are not smart.

Kudos to Senators Mike Lee and Orin Hatch, and Rep. Blake Farenthold for their leadership and wisdom in advancing the SMARTER Act, H.R. 5402, “Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules.”

Senators Lee and Hatch are right in exposing that there is no good reason for companies to have to confront different standards in enforcing our nation’s laws at the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. Specifically, Senator Hatch hits the nail on the head in saying, “businesses seeking to merge deserve consistent treatment without regard to which agency decides to review the merger.”

It is common sense that companies in every industry should be able to know in advance what consistent antitrust/competition standard they will face if they decide to merge or acquire.

What is not common sense is that only U.S. communications companies must also suffer a second merger review double standard – the FCC’s Public Interest Test (PIT) for mergers. 

Other sectors do not face the redundant burden of securing antitrust agency approval and an additional approval froman independent regulator.


Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths