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Competition complaint against Google - David versus Goliath

David versus GoliathThe competition complaint of CONTAXE against Google could be forwarded to the European Commission until the end of June, due to its significant scale. Our research initially led to 26 reasons of complaint in a 175-page document and about 1,700 pages of enclosures. In the context of further competition complaints against Google, which were sent to the antitrust authorities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland three weeks later, the scope of the complaint document extended again significantly. Among other things, a 29th reason of complaint was added.

Originally planned antitrust complaints to the US Department of Justice and the US Federal Trade Commission we have spared us, as our own researches - and, moreover, the contemporary historical development - has proven that in the USA are no longer important principles of a democratic constitution and therefore, it must be understood that a constitutionally process will be prevented by an obviously deeply corrupt US administration. In this context, we would like to emphasize that we reject any form of anti-Americanism, as American and European consumers are sitting in the same boat, so to speak, and both are regarded as victims.

Our researches, in conjunction with

  • our expertise and industry knowledge
  • the recent publications related to the data access of American security authorities in connection with the spying scandal NSA/Prism/X-Keyscore
  • the overall contemporary development


have led us, after a detailed assessment, to the  recognition that Google

  • has over the years unlawfully collected, summarized, analyzed and used – even personal - user data with the consecutive services to achieve a significantly better conversion when delivering online advertising through abusing its dominant market-position.
  • acts in knowledge of the respected legislation under utilization of its enormous technological advantage of knowledge to other market participants, and was able to benefit from the simultaneous knowledge-deficit in politics, competition and prosecution auhorities about tracking technologies and the possible consequences of their application, so that criminal and competition law sanctioning was not possible to apply so quickly.
  • has damaged the free competition, among others, in the online advertising market so badly, including that other market participants, or if at all, can only survive if they cooperate with the market leader.
  • has taken advantage of its dominant position of its search engine, in the online advertising and other services for its own benefit, as well as companies associated to Google or patronized by Google, and to the detriment of its competitors in many ways to gain market share, to acquire financial benefits, while competitors are harmed.
  • shows an abusive market behavior that leads to an increasing control and arbitrary distribution and appropriation of Internet traffic, redistribution of capital flows, and, ultimately, to an exorbitant increase in advertising revenues of Google, at the expense of its competitors.
  • represents though the use of a variety of tracking methods at the user-data acquisition  a national threat because the national security of all European countries is at risk by the access of US government and intelligence agencies, and because it is assumed that this user data is misused for industrial espionage, conquest of markets and as a means to achieve political goals, so it must be reacted immediately, and not in several weeks or even months.
  • therefore, an intervention of the legislature in the Causa Google is necessary to avoid that companies like CONTAXE disappear from the market, which comply with the existing data protection laws and therefore do not track users of the internet, do not carry out targeting traced to people based on user behavior and user interest-analysis and instead choose the lawful way on how to, for example, capture and evaluate the content of websites, and then deliver relevant advertising, just like Google practiced it before purchasing DoubleClick.

 

Want to sue together with us?  Want to see the competition complaint and lawsuit pleading?

There are numerous companies in different industries that feel harmed by Google, but for obvious comprehensible reasons shy away from the high cost and risk of litigation. In addition, the affected often lack in basic information with which an abusive market behavior can be conclusively demonstrated.

Our complaint document that the European Commission has already received, and formally corresponds to an indictment, is based on more than 1,500 hours of research and analysis, in which an market-abusive conduct is perceivable that is also relevant for other industries. Our research continues unabated, as we will file a lawsuit against Google in the near future.

We offer interested parties an opportunity to join our lawsuit against Google. Alternatively, we also provide our complaint document. Please understand that this is only possible in exchange for a reasonable protection fee. Please make appropriate inquiries at David versus Goliath.

Technical progress to legitimize illegal behavior?

That, in our view, the criminally relevant market behavior by Google in terms of user data collection and processing, cannot be legitimized by "technical progress". If this sets a precedent, one would have to legitimize other illegal activities in the future, just because suddenly a suitable tool was invented for this purpose, which enables you to perform these prosecutable actions, without the person (immediately) noticing it.

While only a few were recognizing the dangers over a long period of time and other market participants struggled to sheer survival, Google could easily establish links to government organizations and support lobbyism organizations that go unnoticed by the public and other market participants, through the deployment of "consultants” or "experts" that “help” in law consulting, with the ultimate goal of legalizing the abusive market behavior. That Google CEO Schmidt criticizes this lobbyist even in public with his statement that laws are written by lobbyists, shows how skillfully this company operates its public relations.

The information that is made public via a link of Google with the NSA, are no surprise to CONTAXE because the unabashed market behavior of Google would hardly be possible without a corresponding "backing". It also confirms our own assessment of the strategic approach of the company. Even more, we assume that Google works closely in mutual interest with US intelligence agencies, since the evaluation of Google log-files with user data are just as an inestimable value for these institutions as the reverse aid in the conquest of markets. The US administration receives with the user data of EU citizens comprehensive information on key decision-makers in politics and business, and have thus naturally also the necessary pressure medium in the enforcement of interests that are largely congruent with the interests of the companies, which cooperate with these intelligence agencies./p>

The elimination of the competition and its consequences

The result of the "system Google" includes, in our opinion,

  • the elimination of competition in a variety of markets.
  • serious influence and channeling of purchasing decisions.
  • diversion of huge capital flows into its own company, into with Google cooperating companies and to preferred customers.
  • real plundering of European economies by deprivation of revenues in numerous industries with particularly serious consequences for small and medium-sized companies, which employ around 2/3 of all workers.
  • a mass displacement of online presences, including premium portals, that are virtually worthless despite possibly significant institutions and therefore can now only be sold at a loss.
  • diversion of huge money flows towards third countries.
  • deprivation of tax money by shifting corporate profits into bogus companies, which are located in tax havens.
  • massively increasing unemployment and growing hopelessness among workers of all ages.
  • increasing social deprivation, with the inevitable consequences associated with it, such as rising crime, rising suicide rates, social turmoils.
  • increasing influence of European legislation in favor of Google and affiliated companies with Google using the financial strength, data power and closeness of the company to the US administration and intelligence agencies.
  • increasing dependence of other market participants of Google, including in the form of cooperation or development of business models in connection with Google services
  • serious influence on the general market behavior by the "trendsetter" Google.

Criminal category of the market behavior of Google?

At the, in our opinion, urgently required criminal category there should also be a consideration that Google is making efforts to influence political decision makers of the European Union to ensure that existing laws will be changed for their own benefit and to the detriment of consumers and other market participants. It is an aggravating aspect , in our opinion, that Google operates huge lobbyism work in the USA to achieve these goals and by transferring user data of European citizens to the USA local government and intelligence agencies at the same time allow the access to these data, although the company is aware that the disclosure of data to third parties violates the local law. With this, it also shows the strategic mindset with which Google pursues its objectives.

Google refers towards CONTAXE on its obligations towards its shareholders, and has also given us to understand that we should sue for our rights. That the obligation towards shareholders is not superior to any other legal interests, and certainly do not justify any means, should be obvious to Google, especially when its market behavior violates the company's code of conduct every day.

User-tracking methods and their consequences

CONTAXE has provided the EU Commission with detailed information about user tracking methods and their consequences, among others, as well as further analysis, and has expressed that

  • all tracking methods that allow conclusions on the behavior of users or the creation of user profiles, including the tracking over a longer period of time or over several sites, must be prohibited by law.
  • User data of various web services may not be merged because even anonymous data from different websites can become personal data through common evaluation.
  • even browser plug-ins and add-ons are unable to prevent the saving of cookies, even if this is suggested.
  • the use of tracking methods can therefore not be legitimate in the first place, because they are technically possible.
  • the self-regulation of the advertising industry, with the motto "We believe in the good of the advertising business"  does not even begin to represent the user requirements and therefore proves to be misleading for consumers in practice.
  • a legal regulation of user tracking absolutely must be based on the consideration that abuse with the technologies already known is conceivable (keyword Murphy's Law), and that the evidence of abuse is very difficult to perform because of widespread concealment options. Finally, this approach has for decades been the industry standard for evaluation of possible sources of error and human error in complex (including IT) systems, with regard to the question of what could happen in the worst case. That this has not happened yet, despite numerous thefts of user data and misappropriation of user data, not only causes economic losses, but also endangers national security.
  • only a relatively small number of companies would be affected by a possible prohibition of risky tracking methods, but 7 billion people would benefit from it.
  • the economic impact of sanctioning the market behavior of Google would be extremely positive, as it would trigger an explosive boost of development in many industries, if Google would no longer exist in its current form, or would only exist as a search engine that would have to list search results with for everybody transparent criteria.
  • it must be the goal of protecting the peaceful coexistence in a world of constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights community, and not those who cause harm with the utmost sophistication and precise planning of local jurisdictions for their own pecuniary benefit, and while doing so apparently accept all means.

 

The future of CONTAXE

Since we do not know how independent the European Commission, as well as the legislature, still is at its decision in the Causa Google, and, since we will not use tracking technologies that enable behavioral targeting in our network because of legal as well as for ethical reasons, also not in the future, we only see two alternatives for the future of CONTAXE:

1. CONTAXE will be sold, and the buyer can - if he/she wants to and it will not be illegal - add tracking technologies easily. Interested buyers may please contact us.

2.  CONTAXE will continue to work closely with data protection authorities and under the participation of a large number of website owners and advertisers as a non-profit advertising cooperative, which also continues to work with clean tracking and data processing methods and maybe even could become a role model. We would welcome your feedback and any suggestions on this idea too.

David versus Goliath – the impossible becomes reality!

Whatever the future of CONTAXE will be - I personally am going to start to become  committed in ensuring that the Internet will regain the freedom from the "system Google", even if this seems impossible. For this, I launched the site David-versus-Goliath.com, to share with as many people

  • enlightenment
  • collect information of Google´s market behavior
  • to provide the politics and justice with important information
  • develop technologies,


with the goal to strengthen the competition and consumer protection. On the mentioned website, a lot of information is already available and every day more will be provided, especially the knowledge that we have gained from our research in relation to our competition complaint against Google.

I would be happy if there are as much as possible other "David" to participate. Everyone can help! Alone, we are chanceless against Google. You can find more information on how you can help at Be a David too and fight together with us against the Goliath Google.


Thank you!

Matthias Hofmann
Managing Director
CONTAXE Advertising

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