OIRA Watch

Some two dozen legislative proposals to improve the regulatory process are under consideration by the Congress.  Nonetheless, the immediate relief needed for job creation can come though OIRA.

Accordingly  we have launched an interactive public docket (IPD), OIRA Watch,  aimed at demonstrating the need for OIRA to act on particular issues of interest.

The impact of any “Watch” site is heavily depending upon the credibility of its sponsor; please view CRE’s credentials, giving particular attention to the information contained in this link.

Feds scrutinizing Carrier IQ

From: CNET News

by Elinor Mills

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is investigating allegations that Carrier IQ software is being used by operators to track cell phone activity without user permission, The Washington Post reported today citing anonymous officials.

Andrew Coward, vice president of marketing at Carrier IQ, told CNET he could not say whether there was an official investigation or not but said he spent Monday and Tuesday in Washington, D.C., talking to officials from the FTC and the Federal Communications Commission and answering their questions.

The Critical Role of Civil Servants

 
Historically, federal civil servants played a critical role in developing and implementing federal policy. The attached article in the Administrative Law Review, published by the American Bar Association in conjunction  with the Washington College of Law of the American University, sets forth in Section D on page 54  the critical role career federal employees had in the establishment of centralized regulatory review in the White House Office of Management and Budget.
 

Who Will Watch the Watchers? Google & Facebook Privacy Audits Should be Fully Public

Editor’s Note:  Federal data disseminations, including reports on privacy compliance that have been undertaken by or on behalf of the FTC, are subject to the quality standards and correction provisions of the Data Quality Act

 

From: Huffington Post

by Nathan Newman, Founder, Tech-Progress.org

Facebook this past month agreed to twenty years of independent audits of its privacy practices, joining Google which agreed earlier this year to similar audits following its breaches of user privacy when it introduced its aborted Buzz social network.

Google Antitrust Complaint Filed With FTC

Editor’s Note:  The complaint discussed below appears, based on the article, to be an attempt at rent-seeking.  The Economist describes rent-seeking as “Cutting yourself a bigger slice of the cake rather than making the cake bigger. Trying to make more money without producing more for customers. Classic examples of rent-seeking, a phrase coined by an economist, Gordon Tullock, include: … lobbying the GOVERNMENT for tax, spending or regulatory policies that benefit the lobbyists at the expense of taxpayers or consumers or some other rivals. Whether legal or illegal, as they do not create any value, rent-seeking activities can impose large costs on an economy.” [Emphasis added]

Search outfit argues Panda key to Google antitrust case

From: TechEye.net
 

Product search site Foundem has claimed that Google is directly targeting household name search sites through Google Panda, the algorithm it says is central to ongoing antitrust cases.

Foundem kicked off the European Commission antitrust investigation against Google after they saw their site drop down the page rankings following the introduction of Universal Search in 2007.

Since Foundem first presented the case against Google, an official investigation has begun on both sides of the Atlantic.  This has centred around Google’s leveraging of its search engine dominance, 95 percent of the market in Europe, to favour its lucrative forays into maps, product search and more.

The Regulation of Facebook, Google and Twitter

 Facebook, Google and Twitter operate in two-sided markets. Consequently CRE  believes  the ultimate decision dealing with a governmental action directed toward any of the aforementioned companies should based upon an in-depth examination of two-sided markets. 

More specifically we are of the view  that:  whether a two-sided market behaves like a monopolistic market, a competitive one, or something altogether  different depends in large part on the homing properties of its users; we are of the view that symmetric single homing markets exhibit monopolistic properties and  asymmetric  multi-homing markets come across very competitive.

 

Danny Sullivan: Does The FairSearch White Paper On Google Being Anticompetitive Hold Up?

Editor’s Note: Mr. Sullivan concludes:

In the end, reviewing the report is frustrating. There are serious industry-wide issues about how consumers interact with search engines. There are also serious concerns about what rights publishers should have in regards search engines. These, among others, deserve serious attention. These are also rarely Google-specific issues.

CRE agrees these issues are not unique to Google, thus the need for the FTC to adopt the CRE petition asking  for establishment of the standards for reviewing the matter.

Oct 11, 2011 at 9:36pm ET by

FairSearch Releases 44-Page Paper About Google’s “Anticompetitive Conduct”

Editor’s Note:  Our Readers are encouraged to post their comments in the space provided below or in Public Discussion Forum to the right of this page.  CRE will review the comments and submit a report to the FTC and publish on this website.

Calls for enforcement actions are premature until which time regulatory agencies specify the norms to be used in judging unfair practices for web based firms, see the CRE petition to the same.

In addition as CRE sets forth in the aforementioned petition, antitrust enforcement actions taken in two-sided markets, which are the markets in which web based firms  such as Google, Facebook and Twitter operate, without a deliberate recognition of their unique properties will cause more problems than they solve.

Google and the Antitrust Inquiry: Fighting Shadows

From: BusinessWeek

The company doesn’t make anything, and it’s not clear its tactics in the market hurt consumers

By Mathew Ingram

As Google’s federal antitrust case wends its way through the halls of justice in Washington, investigators for the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Dept. will have to consider some fundamental questions about how to apply antitrust law to a company whose primary products are free—and whose monopoly was arguably gained not through coercive relationships but through the power of an algorithm. What does the word “monopoly” even mean when applied to a Web-based entity such as Google? Are network effects a barrier to entry, as some have argued, or are online monopolies inherently more fragile than their real-world cousins?