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Online Privacy

Schmidt Goobris: "we should have 100% share"

Google's CEO Eric Schmidt told Forbes: "Our model is just better." "Based on that, we should have 100% share" -- per Forbes cover story: "When Google runs your life."

This is a remarkably ill-advised admission when Google is:

  • Seeking FTC antitrust approval to buy the leading mobile advertising marketplace and direct Google competitor Admob;
  • Seeking DOJ and court approval of the Google Book Settlement;
  • Seeking to avoid FTC privacy regulation and congressional privacy legislation;
  • Seeking to gain special treatment and an exemption from the FCC from pending net neutrality regulations supposedly designed to address anti-competitive behavior.   





Google's Engineering Takeover of the Internet -- No "slow" DNS needed on GooglesNet

As part of Google's previously announced plan to make the Web faster, Google announced yesterday a Google engineering alternative system to the Internet's current core, the Domain Name System or DNS. 

  • Google believes that Google's new addressing system is faster and more secure than the current Internet addressing system, which is run by the independent Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN) and which is essentially the Internet's de facto "phone book." 

This is a big deal. Google is essentially saying it can do a better faster job for the Internet than the current ICANN can. Listen to ICANN's self description:

Google The Totalitarian?

Connecting the dots of several recent important developments, Google increasingly is acting autocratically like it has unlimited power and is answerable to no one.

  • More and more it appears to operate like a centralized, sovereign, virtual-State exercising control over the world's information, info-commerce and Internet users.

Consider these several Google public actions over just the last month or so:  


Google's Bots: Judge, Jury & Executioner?

Per Advertising Age, Google has now deputized its crawler-bots to be judge, jury, and executioner when it finds a suspected ad scammer; "It's now guilty until proven innocent, a fundamental shift for 'Don't be evil' Google." "Google now has a harsh new penalty for advertisers placing scam and malware ads: a lifetime ban." 

I have some questions about Google's new found seriousness to standing up to bad actors on the Net.

If Google's all-in-one crawler-bots are fully automated to detect, decide, and do in for life a suspected ad scammer, would that make the Googler that the accused can appeal to -- Google's new Supreme Court?

  • Does the accused have the right to face their crawler bot-accuser in Google's court -- i.e. transparently see what the evidence is against them?  
  • Is there no further appeal to Google's online advertising death sentence in the sovereign GoogleNation?  

If the ad scamming fraud abuse is serious enough to warrant the equivalent of a Google online advertising death sentence, why doesn't Google turn over those they have found guilty to authorities so they can prosecute them for criminal fraud? Or would that be an unfair form of double jeopardy?

Google-AdMob's Antitrust Problems

Google's acquisition of AdMob, "the world's largest mobile advertising marketplace," will receive serious antitrust scrutiny focused on whether the deal lessens competition by extending search advertising monopoly to mobile devices. 

  • Expect the review process to be a magnet for a host of antitrust, competition, and privacy product/services concerns much like the proposed Google Book Settlement has been a magnet for antitrust, competition, and privacy content concerns

First, Google is misleading with its blanket statement: "We don't see any regulatory concerns with this deal." 

Google's Schmidt: "Because we say so" on why you can trust Google's Privacy Dashboard

In discussing Google's new "Privacy Dashboard," Fox Business' Neil Cavuto asked Google CEO Eric Schmidt about the ability to delete private information.

  • Mr. Cavuto: "How do I know you are deleting it?
  • Mr. Schmidt: "Because we say so."

Not being one to accept Google's legendary PR spin without a grain of skepticism, lets review the real significance of Google's new "Privacy Dashboard."

First, to be fair to Google, the privacy dashboard is indeed an incremental improvement over what Google users had before, because it aggregates what was in 21 different places before, into a single more convenient "dashboard." 

  • However, Google overhyped the enhanced convenience and control of this single dashboard, because users still have to use the same 21 different steering wheels and brakes they had available before, in order to control Google's multi-directional invasion of their privacy.

Second, this "dashboard" was exceptionally easy for Google to produce. All it basically does is insert a new front-end web navigation page -- to more easily find other existing Google webpages -- much like any website home page offers navigation to pages behind it.

Goobris Alert: "We want to be Santa Claus"

I kid you not. Google's latest antitrust defense, from the mouth of Dana Wagner, Google's lead antitrust lawyer, is: "We want to be Santa Claus. We want to make lots of toys that people like playing with. But if you don't want to play with our toys, you've got us."

  • See the quote for yourself at the very end of a Globe and Mail article entitled: "Google: we're not evil and we're not a monopoly either."
    • Google's Mr. Wagner continues: “In a West Coast company run by engineers, I don't think there was much attention paid to being in Ottawa, being in D.C. and telling your story,” Mr. Wagner says. “If you don't tell your story, other people do it for you.

Let me attempt to unpack the irony of this new story/metaphor of which Google has taken ownership. 

Most companies when they tell their corporate "story" try to "put their best foot forward," but no one but Google would think to try and slip jolly megalomaniacal corpulence down the narrow chimney of public credibility.  

Only Google would have so little real-world self-awareness as to choose to wrap itself in the beloved mythical role of Santa Claus who has the unique power to decide who has been good or "evil" during the last year, and the unique power to reward those who have been "good" in Google's eyes with toys and punish those who have been "evil" with coal in their stocking. 

Only Google would think it was good PR to allude to Google's secret search algorithms and auction "quality scores" as a worldwide "naughty and nice" list.

Poll: Americans strongly oppose publicacy & expect online privacy -- Part XVI Privacy-Publicacy Series

Americans expect dramatically more privacy online than they currently have; that is the essence of the findings of an outstanding new independent study led by Professor Joseph Turow of the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania entitled: "Americans Reject Tailored Advertising." The study/poll found:

  • 86% of young adults say they don’t want tailored advertising if it is the result of following their behavior on websites other than one they are visiting, and 90% of them reject it if it is the result of following what they do offline.
  • 69% of American adults feel there should be a law that gives people the right to know everything that a website knows about them.
  • 92% agree there should be a law that requires “websites and advertising companies to delete all stored information about an individual, if requested to do so.”

The Many Vulnerabilities of an Open Internet

What an "Open Internet" does not mean is as important as what it does mean.

  • Surely an "Open Internet" is not intended to mean what it certainly can mean: un-protected, unguarded, or vulnerable to attack. 

  • Thus, it is essential for the FCC to be explicit in defining what the terms -- "Open Internet," "net neutrality," and Internet non-discrimination -- don't mean, as well as what they do mean.

The word "open" has 88 different definitions per and the word "open" has even more different connotations depending on the context. While the term "open" generally has a positive connotation to mean un-restricted, accessible and available, it can also have a negative or problematic connotation if it means unprotected, unguarded or vulnerable to attack.  

Googleopoly IV: Monopsony Control over Digital Info Competition -- New White Paper

My latest Google antitrust white paper, "Googleopoly IV: The Googleopsony Case," is the first antitrust analysis which connects-the-dots between Google's search advertising selling monopoly and Google's information access buying monopoly or "monopsony" by explaining and documenting how Google is harming competition in digital: news, books, broadcasting, artwork, documents, and analytics; and harming consumers seeking quality digital information that is not free.