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Consumer Groups' Advocacy Hypocrisy

Consumer groups by definition are supposed to be protecting consumers' interests -- not be pushing a special interest political agenda under the guise of the "public interest." Let's spotlight a recent and blatant hypocrisy whereby consumer groups near-completely ignored an instance of obvious widespread consumer harm (the FCC's proposed fine of Google for obstructing its Street View wiretapping investigation), while in another contemporaneous issue, consumer groups gang-pummeled a non-issue to push a political Internet commons agenda (strongly objecting to Comcast's new market offering where XBox usage does not apply to a user's 250 Gig monthly data cap.)

Google Street View Wiretapping: Why is Google obstructing a Federal wiretapping investigation affecting the privacy of literally tens of millions of American households' -- not a consumer protection issue? How come consumer groups routinely and loudly call for FCC investigations of broadband companies' legal marketplace actions, but are silent on the obvious obstruction of a Federal investigation into Google allegedly being involved in potentially the largest wiretapping and mass invasion of citizens' privacy by a corporation in U.S. history? How is it in consumers' interest for the government to not be able to determine if Google actually violated Federal law or not?

Google's Rap Sheet

Compare Google's law enforcement record here with Google's public representations below to determine for yourself if they match up.

  • "We're a law abiding company." Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, June 28, 2011, in The Daily Mail.
  • "Google respects the law. We do not steal." Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, December 16, 2011, in the French paper Libération.
  • "We have always wanted Google to be a company that is deserving of great love." Google CEO Larry Page, in his 2012 Update from the CEO.
  • Google's Corporate Credo: "Don't be evil. ...This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company." per Larry Page and Sergey Brin in Google's Founders IPO letter in 2004.

 

Google's PR Strategy in Advance of the EU's Monopoly Charges -- A Satire

Confidential Memorandum:

To: All 11,342 Google PR/Spokespeople

From: Brandi Sparkles, Google PR Chief & Googlerati Whisperer

Subject: PR Statement/Strategy in Advance of EU's Monopoly Charges

We expect the European Union's antitrust authority to issue a Statement of Objections against Google shortly, which will charge Google with being a monopoly that anti-competitively ranks its own content #1 while ranking its competitors' content where few will find them.

So you can help rally the Googlerati in the media to Google's side and organize a chorus of Google adoration among the masses to make this problem blow over, we are sharing an advance copy of our public statement for public dissemination and also a copy of our confidential PR strategy for this event so you can be in the know, but remember this PR strategy is not for public distribution.

I. GooglePRBlog

Posted 4-20-12 by Brandi Sparkles, Google PR Chief

Why Google Thinks It is Above the Law

Google often acts as if it thinks it is above the law. That may be the most plausible explanation for why Google is under antitrust investigation on five continents, has had 35+ privacy scandals, and has been sued for eight different kinds of infringement/theft from most every content industry.

I. Cover-ups

FreePress' Latest Net Neutrality Folly -- Pushing for Shareholder Votes

FreePress' latest net neutrality folly and political agitation is pushing the SEC to make shareholders from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint vote on inappropriate, ill-advised, and unwarranted proposed shareholder resolutions in favor of wireless net neutrality in the weeks ahead.

Let me count the ways this is a waste of time and abuse of process.

First, it inappropriately and destructively attempts to politicize non-political entities, by trying to force a public political position from non-political corporate entities, whose contractual and fiduciary responsibility to shareholders is to economically/financially grow the value and profitability of the corporation.

Second, the appropriate place to have political votes is in legitimate political processes, elections or representative votes or decisions by elected officials at the appropriate local, state, and Federal level, which enjoy the constitutional, political, and relevant authority and legitimacy to decide political issues in a meaningful, substantive and productive way.

Third, the operative authority here for shareholders, the companies' shareholder agreements, corporate charter, and bylaws, are legally grounded on a contractual agreement between the company and shareholder to protect and grow the shareholders investment in the company, not to promote extra-political positions that actually could endanger the underlying purpose of the shareholders agreements.

Google's Privacy Excuse Algorithm Team - a Satire

Memo: To All Google Spokespeople

From: Brandi Sparkles & the Privacy Excuse Algorithm Team (PEAT)

RE: The New Google Public Line on FTC/State/EU Privacy Investigations

Google has changed the company's public line concerning our inadvertent, unintentional, un-anticipatable, accidental, unexpected, unwitting, un-premeditated, unconscious, and totally innocent bypassing of Apple Safari browser's privacy protections, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal February 19th, and which is now being investigated by the FTC, State Attorneys General, and the EU per the WSJ today.

Where's the Market for Online Privacy?

Why are market forces so weak in protecting users’ online privacy?

The main reason is that the online marketplace is economically structured around users being a commodity, data, to be aggregated and mined, not customers to be served and protected in a competitive marketplace. That’s because the overriding economic force that created the free and open commercial Internet – the predominant Silicon Valley venture capital/IPO value creation model – was and remains largely antithetical to protecting online privacy.

The Silicon Valley venture capital/IPO driven model is laser-focused on achieving Internet audience/user scale fastest in order to gain first-mover advantage and then rapid dominance of a new product or service segment. This predominant Internet economic model is predicated on a precious few investments achieving such rapid user scale that it: warrants a buy-out at an enormous premium multiple; enables fast and exceptionally-profitable liquidity (via the new secondary derivative market for private venture shares or employee options); or broad liquidity via a public IPO.

What is the essential critical element of achieving audience/user scale fastest? Free. No direct cost to the user fuels fastest, frictionless, viral adoption. This free economic model presupposes online advertising as an eventual monetization mechanism and shuns products and services directly paid for by the user because their inherent time-to-market is too slow and their upfront sunk cost of sales and customer service is too high for this predominant value creation model.

Implications of Senators' Call for Google Antitrust Probe

The bipartisan Senate letter to the FTC calling for a "thorough investigation" of Google's alleged antitrust violations has broader implications than many appreciate.

Please see my Forbes Tech Capitalist post here.

SOPA Fixes Isolate Opponents, Especially Google

The House Manager’s Amendment to the pending House Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) fixed the major legitimate problems with the original bill, effectively isolating the small but extremely vociferous minority of SOPA opponents, especially Google.

See my Forbes Tech Capitalist post here for a political outlook of the SOPA/PIPA anti-piracy legislation, which is likely to become law in 2012.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths