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Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2016-05-23 22:39
[Note: this blog was submitted to the FCC as a reply comment in the AllVid Set Top Box NPRM.]
As more evidence comes to light exposing Google’s much increased search and Android dominance in the U.S. since the FTC closed its search and Android antitrust probes in January 2013, it only becomes clearer that the FCC’s AllVid proposed rulemaking to “Unlock the [set-top] Box” is obviously anticompetitive overall, not pro-competitive as the FCC naively claims.
(A brief context refresh is needed here. In a nutshell, Google is the primary impetus behind the FCC’s controversial AllVid set top box proposal that would force U.S. pay-TV providers to effectively open-source cable set-top boxes and the $200b worth of proprietary video programming/information that flows through them, so that Google and other edge platforms could monetize that proprietary video programming without a license -- for free.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2016-05-17 09:20
If you are online, you can’t escape Google’s myriad of ways it tracks you, but you can leave your ISP.
A famous 2009 Google Blog post boasted that: “Google is not the Hotel California — you can check out any time you like and you CAN, in fact, leave!”
Since Google chose that apt metaphor, and boasted about how easy Google makes it to “check out” your private data and “leave” to a competitor, lets test if you can ever “in fact leave” Google-Eye’s pervasively invasive online surveillance -- from a privacy perspective.
But first, why is this point a relevant exercise for people who care about privacy at this particular point in time?
Right now in the U.S., the FCC is trying to justify differential treatment of ISPs and dominant edge platforms like Google in its Title II privacy proceeding and its AllVid set top box proceeding, by claiming that ISPs are more “sticky” and harder to leave than dominant edge platforms like Google.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2016-05-16 00:50
The Sunday Telegraph reports that the EU is poised to fine Google an EU record ~€3b for “web search monopoly abuse” and that “Google will be banned from continuing to manipulate search results to favour itself and harm rivals.”
Assuming this occurs in the reported June-July timeframe, and just like the EU’s 2015 Statement of Objections charged, the long-term ramifications for Google will be much broader and more serious than most appreciate.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2016-05-10 10:43
Why does the company that by far collects the most private information that the FCC claims it wants to protect, and that also has the worst consumer privacy protection record with the FTC, (Google), get 99% exempted from the telecom and cable privacy protections expected of telephone, broadband, cable and satellite providers?
Is it the same reason, that the edge platforms with much more gatekeeper power and private data collection opportunity than ISPs somehow warrant no FCC privacy regulation? (See info-graphic here; explanation here.)
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2016-05-04 19:07
1 Oracle v. Google case + 1 EU Android Tying Case = 3
While the U.S. Oracle v. Google Java API copyright case that will recommence in public court this month has been completely independent of the EU Google-Android antitrust case, in sovereign jurisdiction, type of law, legal process, timetable and alleged offense, these two cases ultimately could have huge, much underappreciated implications for each other, because they are both about the same thing -- purposeful illegal actions that Google chose to do to extend its search-related dominance into mobile via Android.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2016-04-29 11:01
The epic flaw in the FCC’s Title II privacy NPRM is that it purports to best protect consumers’ private information by only regulating broadband providers’ use of that private information, while emphatically protecting dominant edge platforms from FCC privacy regulation when they use that same FCC-regulated private information indiscriminately without consumers’ meaningful knowledge or consent.
Yes you read that right.
Apparently the FCC thinks it is more important to protect dominant edge platforms from FCC privacy regulation, than it is to protect consumers’ private information.
The issue of privacy lays bare the FCC’s contorted and arbitrary logic of both its Title II cleave that only ISPs can be gatekeepers, and that the goal of net neutrality, protecting dominant edge platforms from ISP interference, is logical and appropriate to apply to privacy. If it was, that would perversely mean that the purpose of the FCC’s privacy rules should be to protect edge providers’ businesses, not consumers’ privacy.
If you want to see a visual representation of this problem, please see the attached one-page graphic here.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2016-04-20 12:53
The European Commission has charged Alphabet-Google with abusing its dominance in the market for “general Internet search services,” by implementing an Android “strategy of mobile devices to preserve and strengthen its dominance in general Internet search.” The EU objects to a variety of secret Google contract conditions to manufacturer licenses to leverage the dominant (>90% share) Android OS to secretly restrict and foreclose competition in ways that ultimately harm consumer choice and innovation. The EU effectively charged that Google has already anticompetitively extended its >90% dominance in search to dominance in the >90% share of the “licensable smart mobile operating system,” and to dominance in the >90% share of the “app stores for the Android” market.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2016-04-13 10:05
The FCC’s AllVid proposal is déjà vu. We have seen Google-YouTube’s piracy-as-negotiating-leverage MO in action before.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2016-04-11 12:37
For the last year, Google was above state law in the U.S.; fortunately, it no longer is.
The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just ordered dismissal of the Machiavellian preliminary injunction Google won in Federal Court over a year ago that squashed a 2014 Mississippi State Attorney General subpoena and state law enforcement investigation of Google’s alleged facilitation of “dangerous and illegal activities through its online platforms.”
Forty State AGs backed MS AG Jim Hood in Court because the Federal injunction that Google won effectively neutered all State AGs from investigating or prosecuting Google for most any alleged Google violation of most any State consumer protection law.
Simply, the Appeals Court ruled that Google faced no “irreparable injury” in having to comply with the MS State AG’s broad subpoena, and that “[T]he normal course of state criminal prosecutions cannot be disrupted or blocked on the basis of charges which in the last analysis amount to nothing more than speculation about the future.”
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2016-04-04 22:29
EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager -- who formally has charged Google with abusing its search monopoly, and who also is formally investigating Google’s alleged contractual tying of its monopoly search app to create a monopoly Android operating system -- speaks Friday at the ABA antitrust spring meeting in D.C. on a panel with DOJ antitrust chief William Baer and FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, at the awkward juncture when the EU is escalating its antitrust prosecution of Google while America’s DOJ and FTC apparently are ignoring the obvious antitrust case they know they have against Google.
In a nutshell, the obvious antitrust case against Google is this: the DOJ and FTC have long established Google is a monopoly demanding antitrust vigilance; U.S v. Microsoft settled that a licensed OS market definition excluding Apple is reasonable and that tying a monopoly OS to a strategic app harms consumers and innovation; Google’s contractual tying of its monopoly search to a nascent Android OS is a mirror image of what DOJ already proved monopolistic in U.S. v. Microsoft; Google apparently has monopolized mobile search and search advertising and prompted its only competitors, Yahoo and Microsoft Bing, to give up seriously competing with Google; and now the potential harms to consumers and innovation are escalating as Google is attempting to extend its Android mobile OS monopoly economy-wide to monopolize the Internet of Things.