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Antitrust

Google’s WorldWideWatch over the WorldWideWeb – New White Paper on Google’s Data Dominance

 

[Note: Please find “Google’s WorldWideWatch over the WorldWideWeb” White Paper -- here.]

The European Commission’s 28-month-old Google search Statement of Objections is out of date and myopic.

What’s changed since the May 2012 EC-Google search settlement baseline?

Google has extended its May 2012 billion-user search dominance, into three newly billion-user dominant platforms (mobile, video, and maps), resulting in new competition complaints of abuse of dominance and new potential EC investigations – with Google’s abuse of its data dominance a common thread.  

Snowden’s NSA-revelations have changed everyone’s awareness of Internet surveillance and the vulnerability of personal data, contributing to the passage of much stronger data-protection legislation by the European Parliament and to a European High Court ruling on Europeans’ right to be forgotten.

Fact-checking Google’s Public EC Competition Defense

 

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt recently blogged to refute an EU newspaper ad “arguing that Google is too dominant and that we favour our own products.” Mr. Schmidt then said: “I wanted to ensure that people have the facts so they can judge the merit of the case themselves.” 

Let’s check Mr. Schmidt’s main assertions of fact here, to determine if they are indeed “facts,” or if they are deceptive half-truths at best? To truly “judge the merits” of this case, one needs to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about his public representations.

 

1.  Google: “We built Google for users, not websites.”

Why Settlements with Google Fail – Open Letter to New EC Commissioners

Dear European Commission Official,

Unfortunately, the EC has learned the hard way. Settlements with Google don’t work.

First, Google’s leaders interpret DG-Comp’s publicly-signaled preference for a competition settlement over law enforcement to be a sign of sovereign weakness, and a lack of confidence in the EC’s sovereign resolve and law enforcement.

Second, Google’s leaders also interpret the EC’s repeated willingness to settle -- with no admission of Google wrongdoing/culpability and no meaningful penalty for past abuses of dominance – to practically mean that the EC’s sovereignty, rule of law and deterrent capability are all negotiable and open to surrender if Google pushes back hard enough.   

There is no other conclusion for Google’s leaders to reach. DG-Comp effectively surrendered its entire case three different times publicly: that Google is dominant, has abused its dominance, and warrants a fine and changed behavior.

In addition to that capitulation and pardon from responsibility for past abuses of dominance, DG-Comp also agreed to surrender the EC’s future sovereign authority to investigate Google search for five more years – almost the entire term of the next European Commission.

Google Android Dominates by Cheating Data Protection

Google-Android sacrifices users’ security, privacy and data protection to scale Android fastest so that Google can dominate mobile software and advertising.

This charge and analysis is timely and relevant because Reuters is reporting that European Commission competition authorities are “laying the groundwork for a case centered on whether Google abuses the 80 percent market share of its Android mobile operating system to promote services from maps to search.”

The purpose of this particular analysis is to help a user better understand how they are harmed by Google-Android’s disregard for data protection.

Six Ways the FTC is AWOL on Google

 

The mounting evidence indicates the FTC is AWOL on Google.

Currently there are no less than six important Google enforcement issues that that the FTC should be investigating, but apparently is not.  

In stark contrast, the EU has many serious problems with Google’s >90% dominance and its persistent disregard for Europe’s privacy, data protection and the right to be forgotten requirements.

An American Google enforcement vacuum stiffens the EU’s resolve and adds to the need and urgency for the EC to step in to preserve the rule of law in Europe.

An absentee FTC, which is largely ignoring consumer choice, also makes it harder for the U.S. to preserve the US-EU safe harbor for the handling of personal information in the pending Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Post-Snowden, the US and EU are far apart on data protection, and a glaringly absentee FTC only exacerbates that divide.

    

 

Why Handcuff the Next EC with a Bad Five-Year Google Deal? – An Open Letter to EC Commissioners

Dear European Commission Official,

Perversely the proposed EC-Google Settlement would restrict the next EC much more than it would restrict Google.

The special Google deal would handcuff EC President-Designate Juncker’s #1 priorityto create a digital single market for consumers and businesses” and “to break down national silos… in data protection… and in competition law.”

The deal would protect Google’s current de facto digital single market from significant new EC digital competition for five years, because the deal would require the EC to shut down its Google search investigation for a five-year period.

Open Letter to Internet Association on Broadband Utility Regulation

 

Dear Executives of Internet Association Companies,

Have you thought through the global implications of your businesses’ public lobbying for regulating broadband like a public telephone utility? 

Possibly you are unaware that “The French government said it would push for a new European law later this year to classify Google and other Web giants like public utilities, forcing them to guarantee access to all services like phone operators. … We don’t want to become a digital colony of global Internet giants” said the French Economy Minister, per Wall Street Journal reporting.

As members of the global Internet giant association, and as global companies with large majorities of your current or future revenues coming from overseas, it could be beneficial to better think through the global implications of your high-profile policy support for new broadband utility regulation in the U.S.

NetCompetition Statement on AT&T-DirecTV Merger

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 18, 2014

Contact:  Scott Cleland 703-217-2407

 

The AT&T-DirecTV Merger Increases Competition & Consumer Choice, Providing:

A New Stronger Competitive Alternative to Cable’s Bundle; and

Google’s Anti-Competitive Rap Sheet Warrants Prosecution Not Leniency – An Open Letter to European Commissioners

Dear European Commission Official,

 

Would Interpol, or any EU prosecutor, ever recommend pursuing a lenient settlement with their overall #1 worst offender -- without extracting any punishment, restitution, admission of wrongdoing, or deterrent effect -- rather than prosecuting the worst offender to the full extent of the law?

Would any other prosecutor publicly threaten swift prosecution against a high-profile defendant repeatedly and then give the defendant three chances to settle over a period of several months when the defendant’s first two proposed remedies proved to be demonstrablydeceptive in market tests?  

Of course not! That would be antithetical to the fair, honest, and effective administration of justice.

Then why, after its own investigation found Google to be dominant, and to have abused its dominance in four distinct ways, is DGComp strongly advocating that Google be protected from prosecution for clear violations of EU competition law?

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths