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Privacy

FCC’s New Do Not Track List Authority

Will the FCC create an Internet “Do Not Track” list like the FTC created the “Do Not Call” list enjoyed by three quarters of Americans?

In ruling the Internet to be subject to common carrier consumer protection law, the Obama FCC’s recently passed Open Internet Order applied common carrier privacy law (Section 222) to Internet telecommunications as part of the FCC’s unilateral efforts to modernize communications law for the 21st century.

The Obama FCC’s Open Internet Order also ruled that the Internet now encompasses the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and that an IP address is the functional equivalent of a telephone number.

Thus, logically it could follow that information that’s considered legally private in the telephone world now could be considered legally private in the Internet world.   

This central consumer protection question should come up this week as the FCC hosts a Section 222 public workshop to explore the FCC’s “role in protecting the privacy of consumers who use” the Internet.

What is Section 222?

It is a common carrier provision of the Communications Act entitled “Privacy of Customer Information.”

Why Google’s Running Out of Antitrust Political Tricks

Just when Google needs it most, its political bag of tricks to dodge antitrust enforcement may be running out.

Reports that the EC is likely to issue a Statement of Objections ruling soon -- that Google is >90% dominant in search and search advertising and has illegally abused that dominance by promoting Google’s content and demoting competitors’ content -- indicates Google finally may be facing a global antitrust inflection point.

A tough EC SO would be a game-changer for Google, like the 2000 U.S. District Court case that ruled Microsoft an anti-competitive monopoly, proved to be a game-changing, global antitrust inflection point for Microsoft.  

Substantively on the merits of the EC antitrust case, Google appears to have little room to maneuver. The EC effectively agrees with the FTC’s staff antitrust conclusions per the leaked FTC staff report. That finding is highly problematic for Google because: EU competition law is much tougher than America’s; Google’s relative >90% market dominance in Europe is much greater than in the U.S.; and Google doesn’t have the dominant political influence over Europe that it does with the U.S. Executive Branch.

Googlegate II: The Evidence DOJ Made Google Criminal Case Go Away

The FTC’s politically messy closure of the FTC-Google antitrust investigation in 2013, chronicled in “Googlegate: the FTC Cover-up Evidence Piles Up,” is not the only major Federal investigation into Google’s business practices that Google’s political influence appears to have made go away in 2013.

Googlegate -- The FTC Cover-up Evidence Piles Up

The FTC’s Googlegate cover-up problem is that while the FTC may be telling the truth, they apparently are not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Don’t miss the brief summary below of the role political influence played in the politically messy closure of the FTC-Google antitrust investigation in 2013.

The evidence of FTC special treatment for Google, coupled with an apparent FTC cover-up of the political influence that may have defanged the FTC’s investigative process, is particularly relevant to: the European Commission’s current antitrust investigation of Google’s abuses of its <90% dominance in Europe; reported U.S. Senate oversight interest in the FTC’s closure of the Google investigation; and Mississippi AG Jim Hood’s State-led antitrust and consumer protection investigation of Google.

FCC Title II Protectionism Creates a U.S. Digital Single Market like EU’s

On February 26th, the FCC executed President Obama’s call to “implement the strongest possible rules” to regulate the Internet as a telephone utility under “Title II” of the Telecommunications Act.

Legally, the result of this “reclassification” was for President Obama and the FCC to assert regulatory jurisdiction over the Internet ecosystem, creating a de facto American “Digital [Internet] Single Market” industrial policy, like the European Commission is in the process of creating for the European Union.

Legally, America now has a single digital telecommunications/Internet market/ecosystem because the FCC is effectively reclassifying Internet traffic as Title II telecommunications and Title II is a holistic, end-to-end, 1934 regulatory regime designed for the FCC to decide most everything in the assumed monopoly telecommunications ecosystem from originating and terminating local access, long distance, phone and network equipment manufacturing, directories, etc.

How America Protects National Champion Google in the EU -- Daily Caller

Please don’t miss my Daily Caller  op-ed: “How America Protects National Champion Google in the EU”

  • It spotlights the facts of how exceptionally integrated Google has become with the U.S. Government on most all of the commercial matters most critical to Google’s business success.

 

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Google Unaccountability Series

Part 0: Google's Poor & Defiant Settlement Record [5-1-12]

Part 1: Why Google Thinks It Is Above the Law [4-17-12]

Google's Anti-Conservative Values -- CPAC 2015 Google Panel

I was asked to speak at CPAC 2015 on a February 28thpanel at National Harbor on Google entitled: “The United States of Google: Big Brother & Big Data” with Seton Motley of Less Government and Erik Telford of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.

My power point presentation, “Google’s Anti-Conservative Values,” for the first time contrasted the traditional conservative values of the American Conservative Union with Google’s values.

Below is an outline of my remarks:

Google Has Anti-Conservative Values

Google’s FCC Title II Privacy Liability Nightmare

The FCC’s official confirmation that it will reclassify wireline and wireless broadband as Title II “telecommunications,” and that it also will apply Title II “Section 222: Privacy of Customer Information” has sweeping, under-appreciated, and negative implications for Google Inc.

Google will certainly be captured by the new privacy regulations. Given its core business model of monetizing users’ information without their meaningful permission, and given its industry-worst privacy record and rampant Android security problems protecting users’ private information, Google will own more serious Section 222 privacy liabilities than any FCC captured entity -- by far 

Breaking Privacy Promises is How Google Works - New Student Privacy Pledge

Google quietly signed the U.S. Student Privacy Pledge, which makes its new privacy representations legally enforceable by the FTC and State Attorneys General.

This is a much-under-appreciated, high-risk decision for Google because its new student privacy commitments conflict with Google’s Apps for Education contracts with schools, and it is antithetical to Google’s longstanding business model, practices, and privacy track record.

Google may already be breaking this privacy promise because it is “How Google Works” -- as you will learn below.  

Google Welcome Memo to Davos Attendees – A Satire

January 21, 2015

Memorandum For: All 2015 Davos Attendees

From: Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Davos Man, & Co-Chair of Davos 2015

Subject: Welcome & Davos 2015 Orientation Information

Google and the World Economic Forum welcome you to the first of many Davos G-1 Summits!

Google is honored to sponsor and co-opt this august event because so many European heads of state, government officials, and elites will be here for the influencing.

Our mission here will be to organize Davos’ information and make it universally accessible and useful.  

Your privacy is our highest priority. Let us reassure you that what happens in Davos, stays in Davos.

Google’s high altitude balloons and drones will provide all Davos’ Internet access. Android and Google+ will be the official Davos operating system and social networking platform respectively. And Google Translate will be the only approved translation service.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths