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Relevant Washington questions to ask Google CEO Schmidt at his speech Monday in Washington

Given that Google CEO Eric Schmidt is delivering a major speech at the Economic Club of Washington Monday June 9th lunch, given that Google's business model is all about delivering "relevancy" to users, and given that Google's public policy mantra is "openness," I have assembled some suggested Washington-relevant questions for reporters and others to ask Dr. Schmidt at and after this open forum.

  • The subjects of the questions are: antitrust, privacy, consumer protection, good government, transparency, openness, tax, net neutrality, and broadband Universal Service


  • If, per the FTC, search is a "unique" or separate market, why wouldn't a search-partnership between #1 Google and #2 Yahoo be illegal collusion when Google already partners with #4 AOL and #5 -- and when the four search partners would comprise a de facto search cartel controlling over 90% of the revenues in the U.S. search market?


  • Should consumers and Congress be concerned with Google exploiting a privacy regulation loophole to offer personal health records management, when independent watchdog group Privacy International ranked Google worst in the world on privacy and Google refuses to comply with California law requiring posting Google's privacy policy prominently on its home page?  

Consumer Protection:

  • Why doesn't Google warn its users of their increased risk of identity theft, fraud and viruses in search results, that Google knows to be dangerous, like Yahoo and other search engines routinely do? Does Google have an undisclosed financial conflict of interest that puts the economic interests of its advertiser clients and website partners ahead of users who pay nothing to Google?

Good Government:

  • Is it proper for Google to be the only company in Silicon Valley to enjoy private plane landing rights and parking at NASA's Ames Field, when Government procurement rules require open competitive bidding to protect the taxpayer from below-market side deals that shortchange the U.S. Treasury?


  • Given the Washington attention to transparency for corporate contributions and given Google's strong public policy stance in favor of mandating openness and transparency for others, does Google have an obligation to disclose how much free in-kind advertising and free in-kind web consulting Google contributes to organizations that represent themselves as free from corporate influence? 


  • Why are Google's market dominant Adword/AdSense auctions not open and competitive -- where participants that bid the most -- can learn why they did not win the open auction? Why isn't there any independent third party audit of Google's auctions to ensure that Google does not anti-competitively discriminate against market bidders who compete against Google for keywords? 


  • Why does Google conduct its, not-for-profit activities, as part of a for-profit division within Google, rather than follow the standard 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization structure that is completely separate, transparent, and easily auditable?     

Net Neutrality: 

  • If Google supports the Government mandating Internet freedom and neutrality, why shouldn't any such law or regulation apply to Google, which has more market share/power in its segment than any broadband provider has, and which operates one of the highest-capacity and fastest growing IP networks in the world?  

Universal Service:

  • Given the candor of Google Co-founder Larry Page in D.C. last month, that Google makes more money whenever a new broadband subscriber comes to the Internet, does Google pay its fair share to fund rural broadband deployment and Universal Service, or its fair share to support the cost of providing more Internet capacity to keep up with exploding demand -- when Google's YouTube and search engine are the world's single biggest consumers of Internet capacity?