You are here

Congress

6 Reasons Trump DOJ Will Take Lead from FTC in Google Antitrust Enforcement

The evidence is compelling that the DOJ will replace the FTC as the lead Sherman Act antitrust enforcer on the biggest Google antitrust matters during the Trump Administration.

A huge action forcing event for the Trump DOJ Antitrust Division is coming, most likely this June/July, when EU antitrust authorities most likely will conclude the first of three antitrust cases against Alphabet-Google, and officially rule Google is a 90+% search monopoly that has anticompetitively abused its monopoly position in search, and impose a traditional monopoly nondiscrimination principle remedy that Google treat its shopping comparison competitors as it treats itself.

While conventional wisdom assumes the FTC will continue as the Google antitrust lead, that is very unlikely to continue, because of two Google antitrust gamechangers, the replacement of President Obama with President Trump, and the EU’s coming official antitrust conclusion that Google is in fact a monopoly that acts anticompetitively in over 30% of the world.

Since so much flows from the baseline assumption of which U.S. entity will be the Google antitrust lead, the DOJ or FTC, it warrants closest examination.

Summary of six reasons DOJ will take the Google antitrust lead from FTC

(1) Institutionally, DOJ is the United States’ antitrust lawyer and the official liaison with other countries.

Why Title II Net Neutrality Directly Conflicts with Consumer Privacy

At best the notions of net neutrality and consumer privacy are somewhat in tension.

At worst, they are in opposition, and harm consumer privacy as happened when the Wheeler-FCC subordinated the goal of what’s best for consumer privacy to the conflicting and overriding goal of what was best for imposing maximal, Title II net neutrality.

Net neutrality and consumer privacy are in tension because they are very different concepts, priorities, and approaches for the handling of information online.

However, the original tension between the FCC’s first concept of net neutrality and consumer privacy was very limited because the Martin-FCC’s 2005 Internet Policy Statement on net neutrality was an extension of the Powell-FCC’s “Internet Freedoms” concept of net neutrality, and both approaches were consumer-first, i.e. very clearly centered around what consumers could expect from the Internet.

What thrust them into the more opposing concepts that they are today?

It was when net neutrality flipped from being primarily a consumer-centric principle to an edge-provider centric principle defined by Google, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix; and from the enforcement of a general broadband nondiscrimination principle, to the preemptive imposition of “the strongest possible,” specific, utility rate regulation framework – i.e. Title II of the 1934 Communications Act -- on a competitive industry that had done nothing wrong to warrant it.

Trump Administration Implications for Google Antitrust in EU, US & Markets

Conclusions:

Most of what we have learned in the five months since the election indicates that the Trump Administration is not going to be Google’s antitrust advocate and protector like the Obama Administration effectively was from 2013-2016, in de facto shutting down any real U.S. antitrust scrutiny of Google, and in turn implicitly discouraging antitrust enforcement of Google in the EU and around the world.  

This antitrust enforcement sea change has three big picture implications: for the EU, for the U.S., and for markets.

On PBS NewsHour Gigi Sohn & I Discuss End of FCC Broadband Privacy Order

Please see PBS NewsHour’s five minute segment here with Gigi Sohn and I discussing Congress’ rescission of the FCC’s unimplemented broadband privacy order that the Wheeler-FCC majority passed last October by a 3-2 vote.

Google Antitrust Implications of Makan Delrahim as DOJ Antitrust Chief

President Trump’s impressive nominee to head the DOJ Antitrust Division, Makan Delrahim, enters the global antitrust stage when one company, America’s Alphabet-Google, has been under near constant antitrust investigation around the world for a decade and faces multiple pending antitrust enforcement actions.

What is the global and U.S. antitrust community to glean from this nomination?

Mr. Delrahim’s background speaks volumes, especially if one believes the adage, people are policy.

Overall, Makan Delrahim is a widely-respected, veteran antitrust official, attorney, expert, and professor, with high-level antitrust experience that check all the right boxes, organizationally, functionally, and professionally.

Mr. Delrahim’s antitrust-specific experience is outstanding.

NetCompetition Statement on Senate CRA of FCC Broadband Privacy Order

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 23, 2017, Contact:  Scott Cleland 703-217-2407

Senate CRA Vote Rescinding FCC’s Broadband Privacy Order Paves Way for House Passage and Has Congress Prioritizing Consumer Privacy Protection Over Net Neutrality

WASHINGTON D.C. – The following may be attributed to Scott Cleland, Chairman of NetCompetition:

 “The CRA was made for correcting big agency mistakes just like the FCC’s Broadband Privacy Order, which made consumer privacy protection worse not better, because it prioritized technology over people, net neutrality over consumer privacy protection, the FCC over the FTC, and the interests of edge platforms over the interests of American consumers.”

“The most embarrassing part of the FCC’s broadband privacy order is that it does not really protect consumers’ privacy at all. That’s because effectively it only requires ISPs to keep certain information private when every other entity on the Internet does not have to keep private that exact same information.”

Consumer privacy is more important than net neutrality -- My The Hill Op-ed

 

Please see my The Hill op-ed on: “Consumer privacy is more important than net neutrality.”

 

Outdated Telecom Law Poses a Challenge for Agit Pai’s FCC – The Hill Op-ed

Here is my latest The Hill op-ed on How “Outdated Telecom Law Poses a Challenge for Agit Pai’s FCC.”

  • It explains what is NOT a modern FCC.
  • It’s also part 26 of my Modernize Obsolete Communications Law Series. (See below.)

 

 

***

Modernize Obsolete Communications Law Series

Congress Please Undo FCC’s Dysfunctional Internet Privacy Rules – The Hill Op-ed

Please don’t miss my latest The Hill op-ed, “Congress Please Undo FCC’s Dysfunctional Internet Privacy Rules,” which explains how these last minute regulations created a confusing mess for consumers.

 

FCC Should Sunset Set-Top Box Provision Because Market is Fully Competitive

House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans formally asked FCC Chairman Agit Pai to close the docket on the set-top box proceeding because it is no longer under active consideration, and because it “remains an unnecessary regulatory threat to the content creation and distribution industries” and casts a “shadow over investment and innovation.”

This is a wise, pro-competitive, pro-property rights, and good government request from Congress to the new Pai FCC.

The FCC should efficiently utilize this decision opportunity to employ the statutory sunset provision in the law to permanently sunset and remove this unnecessary and serious regulatory threat to competition, copyrighted contractual content and its creation, investment, and innovation.

Pages

Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths