But Google insists on digging itself deeper still. From 2000 onward, Google has brokered exclusive deals with top online advertising platforms, social networking sites, and other news and media outlets while making a laughably feeble attempt to mask the self-promotion the company gives its own products via these platforms. YouTube, which Google purchased in 2006, has stirred up recent problems for the search system. A privacy advocacy group has called on the FTC to investigate its claim that Google gives preference to its own videos trying to paper over its many privacy problems over non-Google videos from privacy advocates that should objectively rank higher. And that’s just one example. The alleged abuses inflicted by Google are numerous and various.
I’m a staunch believer in the rule of law – we can hem and haw about policies we want changed, but we are obligated to follow what’s on the books until Congress makes a change. And the fact is that U.S. antitrust laws are a non-partisan issue. Google’s allies have tried to vilify our case with “sky is falling” claims that its competitors are advocating a “government-funded search engine” or the creation of a “bureau of search regulation.” That is nothing but hot air meant to distract from the real problem: Google seems to think they are above the law.
The appropriate response of government in this situation is simply to look at the many credible claims against Google. To this end, on September 21st, The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights is holding a hearing titled, “The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition?” The hearing makes clear that both parties in Congress understand that competition, not regulation, is the only way to secure an innovative, honest, and pro-consumer tech market. No matter how big it is, Google is not above the law, and its business practices merit the scrutiny they are starting to receive.
Mark Corallo was the Public Affairs Director for the Department of Justice from 2002-2005. He is the founder of Corallo Media Strategies and is a spokesman for Fairsearch.org