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American Antitrust Institute calls for FTC to block Google-DoubleClick

The American Antitrust Institute, an independent non-profit advocacy organization just released its white paper:

Like my Googleopoly analysis from this July and my Senate Judiciary Subcommittee testimony in October, the aai concludes that Google and DoubleClick are indeed direct competitors and that: "the merger presents a relatively straightforward case for challenge under the horizontal and non-horizontal merger guidelines."

  • Moreover, the aai stated: "We also see a risk of significant foreclosure effects from Google's control over DoubleClick's publisher and advertiser tools and integration of those tools with Google's dominant search engine and contextual advertising network."

Bottom line: This merger obviously raises serious anti-competitive issues and I continue to believe it should be blocked, but that does not mean that I still think it will be blocked by the FTC -- I no longer do.

Why FreePress' Comcast Petition unreasonably defines "reasonable network management"

The FreePress Comcast petition has an unreasonable view of what "reasonable" network management is in the FCC's net neutrality policy.

First, the petitioners ignore the reason the FCC exists in the first place -- the absolute necessity for some network management in order for communications systems to function as needed.

  • The predecessor to the FCC, the Federal Radio Commission was created in 1927 because of the chaos of an completely unmanaged network (like the petitioners currently are advocating for) --
    • too many stations were broadcasting on too few frequencies making the airwaves a garbled and unworkable "tragedy of the commons."
  • The Government brought order to this chaos by granting the FRC/FCC the authority to make spectrum licensed property, grant licenses, and assign frequencies and power levels for each license.  

Second, the petitioners ignore that "reasonable network management" of communications is directly analogous to reasonable traffic management of our roadways.

Father of net neutrality admits "the whole net neutrality issue is really about a power struggle"

Tim Wu, the "father of net neutrality" because he made up the term a few years back, was surprisingly candid in a CNET article that: "the whole net neutrality issue is really about a power struggle."

  • Well we now know net neutrality is not about:
    • A supposedly longstanding non-discrimination "principle" of the Internet;
    • all bits being equal; or
    • freedom of speech.
  • It's about "power."
    • We knew it all along. 
      • It's really about the "power struggle" over corporate welfare for the dotcom billionaires at Google and eBay who want the consumer to subsidize their piggish bandwith demands in order to maintain their 90% gross profit margins.  

I also found another candid quote by the Moveon.org/FreePress folks that also tells us what they are up to:

Bogus petition against Comcast's reasonable network management is a back door ploy to reinstate common carriage for broadband

The Moveon.org/FreePress petition to the FCC to declare Comcast's reasonable network management illegal, is a deceptive back-door scheme to reverse FCC deregulation of broadband as an information service and to (de facto) reinstate common carriage for broadband.

  • The petition will be found to be a bogus and manufactured scheme to deceive the FCC and the public that necessary, responsible, and "reasonable network management" -- that serves consumers and the Internet public by delivering quality of service and protecting consumers from the harm of viruses, spam etc. -- should be declared illegal "degrading" of an Internet application.
  • Upon full FCC airing of this issue, it will be clear that the offending P2P application traffic is the culprit that is in fact harming the overwhelming majority of Internet consumers by "degrading and imparing" the responsiveness and utility of the Internet for the many because of the irresponsible bandwidth hogging of the few.

First, if managing out-of-control p2p traffic that is degrading and impairing the responsiveness and utility of the Internet for the many by the few is not "reasonable network management" then no network management is reasonable.

Net neutrality is NOT Green!

The American Consumer Institute did some more great work on the importance and impact of broadband. Kudos!

  • I recommend you take a look at their eye-opening new study: "Broadband Services: Economic and Environmental benefits." 
  • The premise is that promoting broadband is smart national policy because of the tremendous cumulative productivity and energy savings that more broadband use enables.

The summary table on page 48 encapsulates the study's findings well.

Why is net neutrality not Green?

  • The current free market broadband policy is succeeding greatly in rapidly deploying broadband to all Americans and in promoting facilities-based broadband competition.
  • Even the serious prospect of net neutrality legislation becoming law would chill investment and discourage continuation of the broadband success that the current free market policy has generated.
    • Net neutrality is not Green because it would slow the extremely environmentally beneficial trend of increased broadband use, which creates massive national energy savings as the American Consumer institute study attests.  

 

 

Unanimous Internet Tax Ban proves Net Neutrality is outside the political mainstream

The unanimous passage of a new seven-year Internet Tax Moratorium, is powerful evidence of how far out of the political mainstream the net neutrality movement is.

  • The fact that everyone in Congress, from the right and the left, came together and supported extending the Internet tax ban for twice as long as Congress did in the past, proves unequivocally that political consensus is possible in Congress on mainstream Internet issues.
  • Moreover, the near unanimous passage of the 1996 Telecom Act by Congress was another powerful example of how the left and right could come together and agree overwhelmingly on sound Internet/communications policies like:
    • "...preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet... unfettered by Federal or state regulation;" and 
    • "To promote competition and reduce regulation in order to secure lower prices and higher quality services for America telecommunications consumers and encourage the rapid deployment of new telecommunications technologies."

Sound mainstream policies can attract near unanimity in Congress -- despite rampant partisanship. 

If net neutrality was truly a long-standing "principle" of the Internet, like its proponents have claimed, it would attract strong political consensus.

Guardian reports: "Google Earth used to target Israel" with attacks -- Google's increasing liability...

The British paper, The Guardian, reported recently that: "Google Earth used to target Israel."

  • "Palestinian militants are using Google Earth to help plan their attacks on the Israeli military and other targets, the Guardian has learned. Members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a group aligned with the Fatah political party, say they use the popular internet mapping tool to help determine their targets for rocket strikes."  
  • "It is not the first time that Google has been accused of unwittingly abetting the activities of militant groups or terrorist organisations. In January, British officials claimed that insurgents sympathetic to al-Qaida were using aerial photography in Google Earth to locate potential targets inside British bases around the southern Iraqi city of Basra."

What is really scary about this coverage is the chillingly "open" video by the Guardian next to the written story that shows (about two-thirds of the way through the 4 minute video) how the "Palestinian militant" actually targets rocket attacks on Israel using Google Earth -- ostensibly to try and terrorize, kill and maim Israelis within Israel.  

In another similar high profile problem, Google Earth was also careless in releasing restricted photos of the White House roof on Google Earth. 

an emerging backlash against unaccountable Internet openness?" .

I think I see the beginning of a backlash trend against those advocating unfettered "openness" on the Internet. 

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police is pushing for legislation to limit the availability of police and firefighters' property records to anyone on the Internet.

  •  ""Our major concern is the criminal element that's using the Internet for a number of criminal ventures, one of which is to seek retribution on law enforcement," said Mark Drum, a lobbyist for the Ohio FOP."

I'll be surprised if their isn't a growing number of people, from all walks of life, who will want to protect their privacy/safety and be able to remove some of their information from public view on the Internet.

 

 

 

A hair-trigger standard for Net regulation? Rebutting the Business Week column

With all due respect to all the folks I read often at Business Week, I have to challenge the thinking behind Stephen Wildstrom's column in Business Week where he shares that he switched his year-long position opposing new net regulation, largely because of Verizon's admitted mistake in delaying by one-day a text messaging approval code to NARAL. 

After Verizon and the rest of the industry have handled literally billions upon billions of communications for years without significant similar incidents, one company makes an admitted mistake, takes full responsibility, immediately fixes it, changes its procedures so it won't happen again, -- and Mr Wildstrom's answer is to now throw the common-carrier regulatory book at Verizon and the whole industry? 

Googlegate? The Examiner documents Google coverup of close Google-Moveon.org relationship

The plot thickens. Robert Cox of The Examiner has produced another must-read piece uncovering much more detail of the closeness of the Google-Moveon.org relationship: "New questions raised on Google, Moveon.org relationship."

  • The piece documents a detailed timeline of the infamous Moveon.org New York Times' General Betray-us? advertisement and then Google's subsequent efforts to help and protect Moveon.org from anti-Moveon.org advertisements on Google. 

What's new and fresh in this piece is the very detailed timeline that connects-the-dots of all of the coverage to assemble a compelling chonology that shows how Google did not follow its own policies and procedures, or even trademark law and practice, in order to censor other's free speech that would be critical of their close political ally Moveon.org.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths