back to article Google-gate: 'Toothless' watchdog FTC nibbles furiously on journalists

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has responded to critics in the media who claim the regulator dropped an investigation into Google after buckling under pressure from the White House and the powerful advertising giant. Back in 2012, staff at the US watchdog accused Google of unfairly burying rivals in its search results, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We are taking additional steps to ensure that such a disclosure does not occur in the future."

    Government + corporate corruption in it's finest wording. I wouldn't doubt that very sentence was sent to Google in an apology the letter.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Google-gate???? <puts head on desk and whimpers> Stupid reporters....

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Mark 85

      We do it to annoy you.


      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Mark 85

        Annoying reads is half the fun... But it's not just you... everything is xxxx-gate these days. I almost wish that the famous break-in had happened at the Sussex, then every scandal would be XXX-sex.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: that the famous break-in had happened at the Sussex

          I wouldn't try that now. You'll wind up with Sussexgate.

    2. DropBear

      I'm seriously tempted to instigate some sort of newsworthy incident involving a gate (or something with a name ending in "-gate"), just to see if the world is willing to go as far as "gate-gate"...

      1. Little Mouse Silver badge

        Apparently Bill Gates had sex on the Watergate hotel's main gate

        I can see the headline now: "Ex Microsoft boss in hotel outdoor sex shocker".

  3. Mikel

    Google bashing

    no substance

    1. Pseu Donyme

      Re: Google bashing

      Indeed, richly deserved though - if only for their other misdeeds.

      Ceterum censeo Google esse delendam.

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: no substance

      Ah, you were at those dodgy meetings! Well, if you say there's no cause for concern that's good enough for me!!

  4. Gray

    Thou shalt not!

    Quashed government investigation? Nothing new there ... it's as old as good-old-boy politics. But to embarrass the government, an agency of government, or a government official? Thou shalt not ... and therein lies the offense. All was well until the NY Times made reckless, irresponsible use of that unfortunate document. And some unfortunate FTC mid-level employee has been demoted to counting used toilet paper rolls in the fourth sub-level basement lavatories.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

    The FTC hasn't taken on a single significant unfair trade practice in the last quarter century. How anyone can believe we don't see through their B.S. after all that time is what's really amazing.

  6. ratfox

    Nor does the statement deny that there were a number of other concerns raised by the FTC's staff over Google's business practices that were resolved by Google agreeing to some voluntary changes to avoid an antitrust lawsuit.

    Isn't this more or less what was supposed to happen in Europe as a result of the Almunia investigation? If I remember correctly, Google removed some clauses from its advertising contracts which stopped websites from using other ad networks, and they offered an easier way to export data about your advertising campaigns. And yes, they did it voluntarily (as in "do it or see you in court") without admitting having broken the law.

    I get it that we're supposed to go "Oooh, they didn't deny it", but these types of "voluntary changes to avoid a lawsuit" are pretty standard and not an indication of a backdoor deal.

  7. Raumkraut

    Anti-trust gnomes

    1. Watchdog raises issues with corporation

    2. Corporation makes changes to satisfy watchdog

    3. ???

    4. SCANDAL!

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Anti-trust gnomes

      Was the deal corrupt?

      A: Probably.

      But, as you say in line 2, this is pretty much how most agencies work even when not corrupt.

      And, it at least marks the FTC as responsive to some elected branch of government. I find "independent" agencies abhorrent to our Constitution. ALL agencies should be directly accountable to at least ONE elected branch of government. The accountability of elected representatives these days may be tenuous at best, but it's still 100 times stronger than the accountability of an unelected agency.

  8. Tom 13

    As we revealed earlier today...

    And therein lies the real heart of many of our political problems these days. Instead of having responsible people in the press, or even just people who bite the hand that feeds them, we have political agents posing as journalists trying to advance their unpublicized political agendas. If some fact relevant to public understanding of an issue is found, if it doesn't advance that specific agenda, we hear NOTHING about it.

    Google's cozy relationship with the current administration was there for anyone in the news media to see LONG before they even BECAME the current administration. Google's big men all publicly BRAGGED about how they leveraged their special search sauce to put the current regime in office. But never a word about it. Until YESTERDAY.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What would you expect from the FTC...

    ...or FCC or other U.S. government agency when they can be bought? Rumor has it that you can get all the "justice" that you can afford in America.

    Google is just one of many companies who have found favor with the FTC/FCC while these companies violate laws and abuse consumers. How is it that when provided with irrefutable evidence of massive violation of law by say Comcast or other cable/telcos, the FTC has done absolutely NOTHING to force Comcast to cease and desist their illegal behavior?

    What exactly does the FTC view as it's sworn obligation to U.S. consumers as far as protection from illegal business practices by companies like Comcast who illegally block international e-mail sent to U.S. subscribers, install unsecured hotspots in people's homes without notice that they are unsecured, illegal credit checks after customers pay a $50. fee to prevent unnecessary and illegal credit checks that hurt consumer credit ratings and other crimes? How is it possible that the FTC can be well aware of these and other illegal Biz practices of Comcast and other companies yet the FTC does absolutely nothing other than send customer complaints to the unscrupulous business entities and then routinely accept a response letter that ignores the illegal practices and makes false statements regarding the incidents.

    U.S. consumers should be contacting their elected reps in DC and asking them the above questions because when the FTC is asked these questions, they ignore the questions just as the criminal corporations ignore the questions. It's as if the FTC works for the criminal corporations and not for the citizens of the U.S. who pay the salaries and benefits of those employed at the FTC who chose to abdicate their sworn responsibilities to protect consumers from corporate fraud.

    There is ZERO accountability from the FTC or FCC.

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