You are here

Fraud

Google-Zagat a Search Conflict Can of Worms -- Top Ten Questions for FTC

Google's purchase of Zagat, a leading restaurant guide and reviewer, opens a search conflict can of worms just as the FTC is in the middle of a broad antitrust investigation of Google, which includes investigating the allegation that Google deceptively favors its own content in its publicly represented unbiased search rankings.

Top ten questions for the FTC to ask Google.

"G-Male:" a very funny new Google privacy satire

Don't miss a new very funny Google privacy satire by Comediva that AdWeek flagged:

 

  • G-male -- "Google engineers the perfect boyfriend: G-Male he'll anticipate your every desire based on reams of personal data."  (3:13)

 

This adds to a great lineup of other funny Google Greatest Hits satires that I have assembled on GoogleMonitor.com:

 

 

Implications of DOJ's Agreement to Not Criminally Prosecute Google

The DOJ's very tough enforcement agreement to not criminally prosecute Google for knowingly promoting illegal prescription drug trafficking for six years has many under-appreciated implications for Google's business and brand going forward.(See the DOJ-Google Agreement here and the DOJ's release here.)

  • Simply this is a criminal non-prosecution agreement not resolution of a civil case because:
    • Only the criminal statutes that were violated authorize a $500m forfeiture penalty; and
    • The agreement explicitly empowers the Government to criminally prosecute Google at its sole discretion, if it believes Google has violated the agreement.
  • In effect, this is a criminal plea bargain where Google agrees to a huge fine, cooperation with the government's ongoing investigations, and two years of probation in return for no criminal prosecution of Google.
    • Reading between the lines, the Government's undercover "sting operation" must have uncovered exceptionally incriminating and embarrassing evidence that Google did not want exposed in a long public criminal trial.

 


My Forbes Op-Ed: "Google Asserts Property Rights Are Anti-Competitive"

To understand how Google is deceptively misdirecting attention away from their own ignominious record of serial property infringement by loudly accusing its competitors of being anti-competitive for enforcing their patent rights, see my new Forbes op-ed: "Google Asserts Property Rights Are Anti-Competitive."

This is important because:

 

  • The FTC is currently investigating Google for a variety of deceptive and anti-competitive acts and behaviors;
  • Google has a history of trying to distract law enforcement from focusing on Google by flinging accusations at others; and
  • Infringement of competitors' property rights is arguably one of the most anti-competitive practices a dominant firm can engage in.

 

Few have connected the dots of how Google's serial mass infringement of competitors' property has been integral to Google's rapid monopolization of the search business and its strategy to rapidly extend that search business market power in most every direction.

Simply, no one can compete with unabashed property infringers.

Find the op-ed here.

FreePress Cries Wolf -- Yet Again

FreePress with its "all complaints all the time" approach to advocacy has been caught once again "crying wolf" when there was no real problem or threat.

A new FCC study that shows ISPs are effectively delivering on the broadband speeds they advertise, exposes FreePress for crying wolf -- yet again.

  • FreePress has to acknowledge Verizon's FIOs far exceeds advertised speeds, Comcast and Charter exceed advertised speeds, and other ISPs are more than close enough to advertised speeds to show that there is not a problem here for the FCC to be concerned about.

FreePress also continues to cry wolf about its spurious tethering" complaint against Verizon because users are prevented from unauthorized tethering of additional devices trying to bypass users' terms of service agreement.

New Google WiSpy Misrepresentation Evidence -- Will FTC Reopen its Investigation?

New evidence, that Google's StreetView WiSpy cars collected and made public an additional category of sensitive consumer data (i.e the unique device identifiers or MAC addresses of consumers' personal smart phones and laptops) that was not previously known, strongly indicates that Google was deceptive with, and withheld essential evidence from, FTC WiSpy investigators last year. (The FTC's Section 5 authority states: "deceptive acts and practices...are...unlawful.")

 

  • Based on credible new evidence that directly contradicts Google's public representations, the FTC should reopen its Section 5 Google WiSpy investigation to determine if Google deceived consumers and/or FTC investigators about what private information Google actually collected and used that could potentially harm consumers.

 

 

I.  New evidence of Google deceptive acts:

Kudos to CNET's Declan McCullagh for his outstanding and detailed reporting that uncovered this new and relevant WiSpy misrepresentation evidence.

 

Googleopoly VIII: How Google's Deceptive & Predatory Search Practices Harm Consumers

How Google's deceptive and predatory search practices harm consumers is the focus of Part VIII of my four-year antitrust research series on Google. (See www.Googleopoly.net for the whole series.)

I. Summary:

My Googleopoly VIII white paper here presents evidence of four things of import to the FTC's current antitrust investigation of Google:


 

New America MacKinnon's Ridiculous Net Neutrality Revisionism -- Radical Fringe Series Part II

The latest strategic demonization of private enterprise by the radical information commons movement to promote net neutrality comes from Ms. Rebecca Mackinnon of the New America Foundation, who recently charged that private corporations have too much power over the Internet and effectively should be regulated as common carriers, when she previewed her upcoming book "The Consent of the Governed" at the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh, which was covered by the New York Times.

Ms. MacKinnon in her talk, employed a ridiculously bad and outrageous analogy that Internet users should fight against Internet companies' Internet tyranny like the barons in England fought King John's tyranny in 1215 by writing the Magna Carta.

  • Ms. MacKinnon charged: "The sovereigns [corporations]of the Internet are acting like they have a divine right to govern."
  • Obviously desperate to associate with, and legitimize her radical cause with the historical spark and bedrock event of today's freedom and democracy, the Magna Carta, Ms. MacKinnon trivializes the grand importance and relevance of the Magna Carta by misleading her audience that today's situation is somehow analogous -- when her analogy could not be further than the truth.

Consider how the 1215 Magna Carta baseline could not be less analogous with today's Internet baseline.

My Forbes Op-ed: "Google's Deceptive Practices Harm Consumers"

To see the first free-market legal argument explaining how Google's market behavior systematically harms consumers under antitrust law, read my Forbes op-ed: "Google's Deceptive Practices Harm Consumers."

  • This is important because Google and its defenders believe the benefits Google provides consumers are the bedrock of a winning antitrust defense.

Few have grasped the huge significance that it is the FTC (with its unique supplemental Section 5 authority) and not the DOJ, that is investigating Google for antitrust.

Most also have missed how vulnerable Google is to the charge that many of its marketing practices are illegal deceptive misrepresentations of its business.

My Forbes op-ed link is here.

Predatory Search Practices are the Google Antitrust Problem

The FTC is centering its Google antitrust investigation on Google's predatory search practices that anti-competitively abuse Google's dominant market power to thwart competition.

  • As the dominant online information access gatekeeper, Google has unique market power over the one place online where every business needs to be able to compete in order to be found by potential customers.
  • At core, Google's predatory search practices manipulate search results to anti-competitively advantage some Google content and disadvantage some competitors' content, all while misrepresenting to the public that Google's search business is unbiased and never manipulates search results.

 

Google's Predatory Search Practices

The FTC would not have launched this investigation if it did not believe Google has dominant market power in search advertising, and as such, has special legal obligations to not abuse its market dominance to impede competition -- market obligations that non-dominant firms do not have.

 

  • Gaining or enjoying dominant market power or a monopoly is not illegal, but it is illegal to anti-competitively gain, maintain or extend dominant market or monopoly power.

 

Pages

Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths