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Intimidation is “How Google Works” -- Ask State AGs or EU

After successfully taming the FTC and the DOJ via the intimidation of politically placing seven former Google executives or consultants in senior positions in most every major federal policy or law enforcement area of legal or commercial interest to Google Inc., Google has turned its intimidation modus operandi on the only American law enforcement arm that apparently remains willing to investigate and enforce the law when it comes to Google – state attorneys general.   

Let’s take a quick look at the latest intimidation tactics Google is using to thwart the investigation of Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood into Google’s alleged aiding and abetting of criminal activities.

One needs some brief background here. State Attorneys General have long been investigating evidence of ongoing Google criminal behavior that resulted in a $500m criminal forfeiture penalty via a 2011 DOJ-Google Non-Prosecution Agreement that DOJ quietly allowed to lapse in 2013 after the election, despite extensive evidence Google was not complying with the NPA.  

Last fall after getting insufficient cooperation from Google in its investigation, Mississippi AG Jim Hood issued a broad subpoena to Google investigating if Google was effectively engaged in willful blindness to the aiding and abetting of a wide variety of criminal and illegal civil activities via Google search and advertising.

Fearing legal discovery would expose their ongoing illegal aiding and abetting, Google has used many intimidation tactics to try and snuff state law enforcement investigations of Google in the crib.

Google has falsely claimed Section 230 of Federal law provides Google with sweeping immunity from state law enforcement jurisdiction.

To slow-roll and thwart the State’s Google investigation Google preemptively sued to frame the legal question up front that the State had to prove it had legal jurisdiction over Google’s operations in its state before it could investigate Google violations of state law.

Google well knows the legal burden of proof is on Google to prove in court that any specific state charges that may result from the investigation run afoul with section 230.

Since then, Google has pursued a scorched earth legal strategy that knowingly advances a false and deceptive legal notion that Google is not subject to State criminal and civil law.

Google has charged that the Mississippi State AG investigation is improper because it learned from the leaked emails, resulting from the North Korean hack of Sony, that the MPAA was supporting the state investigation of Google’s aiding and abetting of a wide variety of criminal activities including facilitating illegal drug importation, sex trafficking, counterfeit passports and content piracy.

In December, Google filed and won a temporary injunction in Federal Court that the Mississippi State AG subpoena may have been overly broad. That injunction is currently under appeal in the Fifth Circuit.

It appears to be a Google legal strategy to serially delay any actual legal discovery in this case until the Mississippi state elections in November, when there could be a more Google-friendly Mississippi AG in office.   

Since then, Google’s apparent intimidation strategy towards all state law enforcement is to make a not subtle political example of what happens to a State AG that has the temerity to subpoena Google, to fully investigate Google’s admitted aiding and abetting of criminal activities that could harm and endanger the citizens of a state.

(For the substantial evidence that Google is still aiding and abetting criminal activities, see Digital Citizens Alliance research hereHow Google Continues to allow Bad Actors to Continue to Flourish on YouTube” and hereHow Google and YouTube Stand to Benefit when Bad Actors Exploit the Internet”; Consumer Watchdog research hereGoogle+: A Playground for Online Predators?; and my Precursor research hereThe Public Evidence Google has violated the DOJ-Google criminal Non-Prosecution Agreement.”)

Recently, Google has turned its not subtle intimidation tactics on those that have had the temerity to investigate Google’s alleged illegal civil activities and aid state law enforcement in protecting the citizens in their state.  

Only a plaintiff that seeks to intimidate and obstruct justice because they have so much to hide in legal discovery would stoop so low in abusing the legal process by spuriously charging a State AG with breaking the law for attempting to do their statutory job in investigating substantial allegations and evidence that an admitted and proven malefactor was continuing their wrongdoing and breaking multiple laws in their state to the harm of their State’s citizens.

In addition, Google is abusing the legal process further in going after some of their accusers in court.

Hypocritically and ironically, Google is trying to prove that the Mississippi AG’s subpoena is overly broad, by suing some of Google’s accusers, law firm Jenner and Block and the Digital Citizens Alliance, to compel compliance with an overly broad request for discovery by Google.

When one looks at what Google is suing to compel the court to give Google access to, it becomes apparent it is another not subtle intimidation tactic.

Google is trying to get the court to give it access not just to its communications with the Mississippi AG, but also all communications with any State AG they may have spoken with.

The not subtle intimidation tactic here is that if another State AG has the temerity of investigating Google’s wrongdoing, it will suffer from the same scorched earth and interminable slow-roll, hard-ball, legal tactics that Google is employing to outlast another State AG beyond their elected term.  

All this political and legal intimidation is not lost on law enforcement authorities around the world, which are trying to enforce their laws and protect their citizens from Google’s harmful excesses and unaccountability.

The EU is particularly aware of Google’s slow-rolling and hard-ball intimidation tactics, e.g. Google News on copyright, Search and Android in antitrust, StreetView WiSpy and Google+ privacy policy integration, Google and Standard Essential Patents, etc. etc. etc.  

In short, justice delayed is justice denied. And letting a bully get away with intimidating others, only encourages more intimidating behavior.  

Forewarned is forearmed.     

Scott Cleland is President of Precursor LLC, a consultancy serving Fortune 500 clients, some of which are Google competitors. He is also author of “Search & Destroy: Why You Can’t Trust Google Inc. Cleland has testified before both the Senate and House antitrust subcommittees on Google and also before the relevant House oversight subcommittee on Google’s privacy problems.

“How Google Works” series (A public service fact-check of Google’s bestseller: “How Google Works.”)

Part 1: Google Profiting from Hacked Celebrity Women Photos is “How Google Works” [10-6-14]

Part 2: Stealing from Competitors is “How Google Works” [10-20-14]

Part 3: Evading Sovereign Accountability is “How Google Works” [12-10-14]

Part 4: Bullying is “How Google Works” – Ask Law Enforcement [12-21-14]

Part 5: Deceptive Branding is “How Google Works” Ask EC Law Enforcement [1-7-15]

Part 6: Breaking Privacy Promises is “How Google Works” - New Student Privacy Pledge [1-22-15]

Part 7: Irresponsibility is “How Google Works” - No Curation of Google Maps or Google [5-21-15]

Part 8: Intimidation is “How Google Works” Ask State AGs or EU [6-18-15]

Part 9: Widespread Wiretapping is “How Google Works” [6-24-15]