first published March 2019
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I hope you find the content of this site, MonopolyWars.com interesting, and see for yourself the truth, exposing the FTC and complicit powers, in their corruption regarding doing nothing about the Facebook monopoly.
Specifically, there was a GCR (Global Competition Review) event, a dirty collusion meeting of the rich and powerful in the antitrust arena.
What they’re doing here, is a 3-step deception:
1) The Facebook problem is introduced as purely about the privacy of Facebook members’ information. Facebook sells that information, for profit.
2) They give reasons why the privacy of that information is not a monopoly issue.
3) They briefly touch on Facebook’s services and technology (the actual monopoly), but insist it’s not a monopoly issue, because competing technology can “leapfrog,” and compete with Facebook. This is nonsense. With this sleight of hand, they distract from the urgent need to breakup the Facebook monopoly.
Let’s examine Pallavi’s article. In “quotation marks”, are the different pieces of the article. Following each quote from the article, is the real meaning, in teal italic font. Referenced links are underlined in royal blue.
Begin Pallavi’s article:
“A senior official at the US Federal Trade Commission has said that concern about an online platform user’s reasonable data expectations is a consumer protection issue that should not be tackled through competition enforcement.”
Of course, lets all just think about this one little reason to not breakup Facebook (sarcasm intended).
“Thomas Dahdouh, director of the FTC’s western regional office in San Francisco, argued last Thursday that many of these concerns about data ‘are really consumer protection concerns’. He spoke in his personal capacity at GCR Live IP & Antitrust in California. He acknowledged that it is legitimate to be concerned about consumers’ expectations and companies’ disclosures or changes in policies without obtaining a user’s opt-in. But he said: ‘Those are all consumer protection, bedrock theories based on this notion of what do consumers expect is going to happen to their data. I’m not sure it works in competition.'”
Yes Dahdouh, let’s just focus on things you’ll do nothing about.
“Forcing big data into antitrust analysis – which has achieved a ‘remarkable consensus’ in most respects – is like ‘trying to drive a round peg into a square hole’, Dahdouh said. This risks errors such as unjustified requirements for divestitures and conduct remedies, he added.”
You’re more worried about the finances of Facebook, than you are about the dangers of monopolies.
“‘Fundamentally I have a concern with this idea that [consumer data] is an appropriate place for competition analysis, apart from unique data situations,’ he said. This raises problems such as a competition analysis that deems consumers’ financial data to be an essential facility, which would require data to be handed out to other companies to which the consumer never consented. ‘That’s stunningly concerning to me,’ he said.”
Dahdouh, some of the fragmented companies, which would be a result of Facebook’s breakup, would already have all the respective data, including financial data, which Facebook currently has. Some of the rightful fragments would differ in their possessions of data, and those entities, which do not have sensitive data, would not be hacking targets. Facebook, as it stands today, is frequently hacked, and competition amongst the fragmented companies of Facebook, would be more inclined to have more secure infrastructures, when compared to Facebook, which knows currently that even if it gets hacked, it will still reign supreme in the social media market. Plus, the fragmented companies would not all have sensitive information on their users. Additionally, competition would make it more likely for competitors to follow the law, and not illegally sell user data. With competition, comes prudence, when companies know that if they screw up, they will be punished. Facebook evades this, through its tentacles into the power structures that protect Facebook. More companies would mean more fear to break the rules, because those companies would know that screwing up would harm them, and make their competitors in a better light, for acting ethically. Also, the companies, which would be the result of breaking up Facebook, could each have different usernames and passwords for their users, which would make a hack of one of those companies less dangerous because it would only compromise one of the companies, instead of a hack of Facebook as a whole, which compromises not only all Facebook components, but also logins to other companies, which use Facebook to sign in.
“Dahdouh noted that FTC Bureau of Competition Director, Bruce Hoffman has said that it is too early to say how valuable or predictive big data is. ‘I don’t think there’s a strict relationship between having more data and being closer to the truth’ about consumers, he added.”
This is just straight doublethink. Even if there are a marginal amount of data that doesn’t give you more “truth” about users, the vast majority of the relationship, in common sense, indicates that the more you know, the more you know! They are trying to downplay how Facebook sells its data on users, illogically saying that more data doesn’t make the sale of which, more profitable. Ridiculous. Plus, Facebook has breached a 2011 consent decree, about not selling user data. I wouldn’t expect the FTC to go too hard on them, though, given how corrupt they all are. Also, data isn’t the real issue here; the Facebook technological infrastructure is!
“Dahdouh, who has been at the FTC for nearly three decades and was a staff attorney on monopoly investigations into Intel and Google, drew on those experiences to support his view that enforcers should be cautious about condemning conduct as anticompetitive. While in some sectors – particularly those with regulatory pipelines such as pharmaceuticals – it is clear which company will have the next new product, one of the lessons of high tech is that ‘it’s often surprising who the innovator is, the one who leapfrogs’ competitors, he said.”
Dahdouh has ignored the monopolies of Intel and Google, so he obviously can’t be trusted to do anything about Facebook! And his reference to sudden “leapfrogs” of technology is bullshit because Facebook is obviously a monopoly, and there’s nothing that can “leapfrog” to challenge them substantively, especially when Facebook buys up competitors right and left.
“Dahdouh said he disagrees with claims that US consumers do not care about violations of privacy policies. To the extent consumers care, the FTC will enforce against violations under its deceptive or unfair practices consumer protection authority, he said. ‘I won’t say that the FTC’s notions of [consumers’ expectations] exactly jive with what the Europeans are coming out with,’ he said. Dahdouh did not directly address the case brought by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office against Facebook, which alleges that the company is abusing its dominant position in the social network market by requiring users to allow it to collect their data from third-party websites and merge it with data from Facebook accounts. The German competition authority said last December that users are often unaware that Facebook is collecting their data from other sites, and have not given effective consent to that behaviour.”
Dahdouh, who are these users who don’t care about privacy? Everybody cares about their privacy! You don’t name them, because they don’t exist. You’re pandering to a segment of the population that doesn’t exist! Oh, and we can trust you to stick up for privacy. How about Cortana in Windows 10? The program which collects tons of data on every user, and sends it to the “authorities.” Facebook is already there. They sell user data to the highest bidders, while the FTC does nothing about it. They allow Facebook to break the 2011 mandate from Congress to stop these practices! With Facebook lobbying almost $10 Million in 2018 alone, should we really be so surprised? And of course Dahdouh didn’t directly comment on Germany’s objection to all of this. That would be actually revealing some truth here. Included in that $10 Million, is almost $100,000 for a company called Ogilvy Government Relations, which has as its tagline: “A bipartisan government relations team to help you succeed in Washington.” That organization, and all the other shady payoffs, I’m sure have influenced many people, apparently including FTC officials. And once again, I want to point out that they don’t mention the real monopoly, the technology!
Of course, the main problem with Facebook is about its completely dominant technology infrastructure, which needs to be split up, in order for the social media market to remain competitive, and drive quality over bloated corruption.
Here is another GCR article, which has FTC officials copying the same false, 3-step deception, detailed above. The article covers the 7th Annual GCR Live Telecoms Media & Technology conference in London, which took place on May 4th, 2018.
The way I found out about all of this, is by filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Action with the FTC, which is supposed to breakup monopolies like Facebook. Here is a link to the Official Final Response Letter to my FOIA Action with the FTC, designed to expose their corruption, regarding the Facebook monopoly. I really had to work hard, and apply leverage, to even get the FOIA Action done. The FTC FOIA Department tried to delay my action pretty much indefinitely. When I put up a fight, and contacted the oversight, things actually happened! …at least to a limited extent.
And here is a link to the result of my FOIA Action, with the FTC. I appealed this outcome, as, unjustly, not all email records were released, but they blew me off. They exempt an additional record as exemption b(5), which is designed to protect information in the context of a lawsuit’s civil discovery phase. In other words, they withhold information, because they are afraid of legal action if they released it. And why redact, if you have nothing to hide? But from that document above, you can see FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips is keen on the commentary, by Pallavi Guniganti, on the GCR Live, 2nd Annual Intellectual Property and Antitrust Event, May 24th 2018. Furthermore, it is seen that the apologetic and subservient Gail Kingsland, is updating the FTC intranet so this article by Pallavi is distributed to the FTC internal personnel. I witnessed propaganda, posted in the hallways, against competitors, when I worked at Microsoft Corporation, as an intern. Microsoft only escaped Antitrust law because it quietly funded Apple Computer Company, in order to make sure there was a competitor, to them. I remember wondering about the ethical considerations of such brainwashing, but, like a good peon, I assimilated it, and found it amusing. In retrospect, I can see the parallels to this document being posted for FTC personnel.
Here are People of Interest who were at GCR Live, 2nd Annual Intellectual Property and Antitrust Event, May 24th 2018. After each name, I list the corruption I was able to dig up about them.
Baker Botts, Washington, DC
“James Kress is a Partner in Baker Botts’ Antitrust and Competition Practice, where he represents clients in complex private antitrust and commercial litigation and before government agencies in merger and nonmerger antitrust investigations.”
A hired gun for monopolies.
Cornerstone Research, San Francisco
“Matthew Lynde heads the firm’s intellectual property practice…”
Another hired gun for monopolies.
Event Keynote Speaker:
Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, US Department of Justice, Washington, DC
>>>>Yes, this conspiracy leads everywhere, even to the Department of Justice!
“William Rinner is a Antitrust & Trade Law, Mergers & Acquisitions, Telecommunications attorney who attended Yale Law School.”
Can’t be trusted; too much back and forth between industry and oversight – can’t be good.
Here’s a relevant clip from All the President’s Men, one of my favorite movies:
Hogan Lovells, Washington, DC
“Logan Breed has handled many of the most cutting-edge antitrust reviews of mergers and acquisitions since 2002, as well as numerous non-merger conduct investigations and antitrust litigation matters. He has particular experience with issues at the intersection of antitrust and intellectual property law.”
Another lawyer hired gun for monopolies.
White & Case, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC
“Noah Brumfield advises clients on complex antitrust issues, representing them at trial and in merger and non-merger investigations by competition enforcement agencies around the world.”
Another lawyer hired gun for monopolies.
Baker Botts, Washington, DC
“Paul Cuomo is a partner in the Antitrust and Competition Practice and serves as Partner in Charge of the firm’s Washington office. Mr. Cuomo advises clients on all aspects of antitrust law…”
Another lawyer hired gun for monopolies.
Regional Director, Western Region, Federal Trade Commission, San Francisco
An FTC Director, but very corrupt; see my analysis above, of his many comments, and how they don’t hold any water!
Senior Antitrust Counsel, Intel, Santa Clara
A hired gun by the Intel monopoly. I wonder why they have him at the event – a clear conflict of interest between him and what the FTC should stand for. Almost all of these people are corrupt, and this GCR event is just about them rubbing shoulders and colluding. The event is not a formal legal session where every angle needs to be heard, it’s about networking and putting up a smoke screen of bullshit and do-nothing excuses.
Arnold & Porter, Washington, DC
“She recently re-joined the firm from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), where she was Director of the Bureau of Competition.”
So she shows just how together the FTC and the monopolists are – she goes back and forth between both!
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Washington, DC
“…his career as an antitrust trial attorney that has spanned nearly two decades. He has represented some of the biggest names in the technology industry, including Microsoft, Sharp, LG, Panasonic and Fujifilm.”
A mercenary for monopolists.
—Arshad (Paku) Khan
Khaitan & Co, New Delhi and Berkeley
“Paku is Executive Director of the Competition Law team.”
Another hired gun lawyer. Does anyone think these types of people are there to stand up for the best interests of the public? Corporations hire these lawyers; that’s who they work for.
Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft, Redmond
Microsoft. Gee, I wonder if he’s to be trusted.
Vice President, Legal Counsel, Qualcomm, San Diego
Another tech monopolist.
Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley
Defends the Uber monopoly, so can’t be trusted.
Professor, Graduate School, Haas School of Business and Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley
“If somebody wants to come up with a proposal for a broad-based regulation that would apply to Facebook, I’m listening. But I don’t think it’s easy to control the economic power of the large tech firms by regulation. The best way to do that is to make sure they are subject to the forces of competition.”
This is the only one; actually a good guy!
Chief Economist, Google and Emeritus Professor, School of Information, Haas School of Business and Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley
He works for Google, high up, another monopoly, gee I wonder why they invited him!
“…represents various multinational companies, Chinese companies, investment banks, and private equity funds in their merger and acquisition transactions.”
That pretty much says it all; a hired corrupt corporate slavedriver, and mercenary.
Analysis Group, Boston
“…several antitrust matters involving Microsoft. Mr. Yeater has supported counsel for defendants in trials responding to multibillion-dollar antitrust damages claims…”
He’s another hired gun mercenary, Microsoft even!
All the Sponsors (found on the right column of this event page), have Speakers, who are from each of those Sponsors. In addition, and as detailed above, all of those people’s ethics are severely questionable.
Here are some links, which shine some more light on this general Facebook monopoly subject:
As for curing my own bias, and looking for praise for the FTC, I did a search, and the vast majority of the results are about how the FTC has been hitting Facebook on user data (instead of it’s technology monopoly, which is the real issue here), and not going to break up the company, which should have happened a very long time ago.
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