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Consumer Watchdog Welcomes EU Antitrust Probe of Google; Calls On U.S. Justice Department To Launch Investigation

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Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 9:42 am

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Consumer Watchdog Welcomes EU Antitrust Probe of Google; Calls On U.S. Justice Department To Launch Investigation
Google’s Anticompetitive Tactics Will Be Topic At Group’s Conference Wednesday

WASHINGTON — Consumer Watchdog today welcomed the European Union’s antitrust investigation of Google and reiterated its call for the the U.S. Justice Department to launch its own investigation of the Internet giant.

Google’s monopolistic practices will be discussed at 11:30 am tomorrow (Dec. 1) during Consumer Watchdog’s conference, “The Future of Online Consumer Protections,” at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The panel, “Competition and antitrust issues on the Internet,” will feature Gary Reback of Counsel, Carr & Ferrell LLP; Scott Cleland, President, Precursor LLc; and Melanie Sabo, Assistant Director for Anticompetitive Practices, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission.

“It’s long been clear that Google unfairly uses its dominance in search to benefit its own services,” said John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Inside Google project. “I’m pleased with the European announcement, but this is a U.S. company and it is past time for our authorities to act decisively.”

Consumer Watchdog called on the Justice Department to launch an antitrust investigation of Google in April. In June Consumer Watchdog issued a report showing how Google uses its dominant position in online search to muscle its way into other Internet businesses, ultimately limiting consumer choice.

Read a copy of the study, “Traffic Report: How Google is Squeezing out Competitors and Muscling Into New Markets” here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/TrafficStudy-Google.pdf

Also at Wednesday’s conference, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director David Vladeck will discuss a soon-to-be-released FTC report on online privacy and establishing an online “Do Not Track Me” list in an 8:45 am keynote speech.

At 1 pm the Department of Commerce’s Associate Administrator for  National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Daniel Weitzner will speak. Commerce is also on the verge of releasing a report on online privacy protections.

Other panels will discuss: Protecting consumers while they surf the Web: How “Do Not Track Me” would work and other ideas; Protecting electronic health records and ensuring safeguards in the online medical marketing era; and The Internet’s impact on creative arts.

Consumer Watchdog has been working to protect consumers’ online privacy rights and educate them about the issues through its Inside Google Project. The goal has been to convince Google of the social and economic importance of giving consumers control over their online lives. By persuading Google, the Internet’s leading company, to adopt adequate guarantees, its policies could become the gold standard for privacy for the industry, potentially improving the performance of the entire online sector.

Read the conference agenda here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/resources/confagenda-v1.pdf

Consumer Watchdog, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Monica, CA.  Consumer Watchdog’s website is www.ConsumerWatchdog.org. Visit our new Google Privacy and Accountability Project website: http://insidegoogle.com

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This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 361 posts on Inside Google.

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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