Scott Cleland - President, Precursor LLC -- Proven Thought Leadership, Chairman, NetCompetition

Scott Cleland

Responsible Internet Thought Leader

Summary

Scott Cleland is a proven, responsible Internet thought leader, expert, and advocate.

He is working on his second book tentatively titled: “The Irresponsible Internet & How to Fix It.”

As Founder of Precursor®, Cleland has over twenty years of experience advising top institutional investors, Fortune 100 companies, and governments on how techtopian Internet policies, promises, and practices can irresponsibly harm competition, markets, the economy, consumers, society, and the world.

Eight congressional subcommittees have sought his expert testimony a total of 16 times. He served as Deputy United States Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy in the H. W. Bush Administration. A U.S. Department of State Advisory Committee appointed him to several terms 2002-2014. Governments on four continents have sought his expertise. Institutional Investor twice ranked him the #1 independent analyst in communications.

He has pioneered a new Internet research discipline, Macrointernetics™, the study of the systemic risks of universal Internet disruptions. He coined the new term, “the Internet Reset,” to spotlight the evident geopolitical secular change from an ungoverned (irresponsible) Internet to a more governed (responsible) Internet.

He is author of the 2011 book “Search & Destroy: Why You Can’t Trust Google Inc.,” which was translated into Korean and Portuguese. He is publisher of Googleopoly.net, and from 2010-2016 published the accountability site GoogleMonitor.com.

Sixteen publications have featured his op-eds. His widely read PrecursorBlog published several hundred responsible Internet analyses (2006-2018). And as an investment analyst (1993-2005), he was the nation’s most quoted communications analyst. Fortune, National Journal, Barrons, WSJ's Smart Money, Investors Business Daily, and Broadcasting & Cable have profiled Cleland.

As a speaker, he has keynoted for companies, associations, conferences, and government organizations, nationally and internationally. Cleland has been interviewed on TV and radio hundreds of times.

Cleland's Responsible Internet Perspective

Everyone has Internet trust concerns because online no one is safe, nothing is secure or private, and everywhere users question the trustworthiness of Internet content and intermediaries. Increasing Wild West Internet irresponsibility has caused a global techlash for a more responsible Internet.

As the nation’s leading regulatory analyst for investors during the birth and growth of communications competition and the techtopian Internet, Cleland understands the Internet’s nature and trajectory is heavily driven by extraordinary government special treatment, subsidies, and regulatory arbitrage.

Consequently, Cleland challenges irresponsible techtopian Internet policies, laws, immunities, economics, models, and behaviors that irresponsibly disrupt the Constitution, the rule of law, ethics, morals, national security, public safety, legal tender, competition, economics, property and privacy rights, and protection of consumers and minors.

Private Sector Background

In 2019, Cleland founded Precursor® Research LLC, an independent investment research boutique specializing in the Internet Reset, the geopolitical secular change from an ungoverned Wild West Internet, towards a more governed, responsible Internet. He has pioneered a new Internet research discipline, Macrointernetics™, the systemic risks of universal Internet disruptions.

From 2006-2018, Cleland was President of Precursor LLC, an Internetization research consultancy that served Fortune 100 companies in six industries; and author of the widely read PrecursorBlog, publishing his Internet research findings on Internet competition, policy, and unaccountability.

Precursor LLC’s specialty was original thinking in organizing chaos, by bringing clarity of thought and applying framework analysis to big complex internet competition, policy and unaccountability problems and issues before others. During that same period, Cleland also served as Chairman of NetCompetition®, a pro-competition e-forum supported by broadband interests.

From 2000-2005, Cleland served institutional investors as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Precursor Group Inc. He founded and co-built the Precursor Group Broker Dealer from scratch to the #1 Institutional Investor-recognized independent research firm in communications in four years. The firm served most of the top investment institutions in the U.S., including 39 of the top 50.

Overall Cleland has thirteen years' experience in the institutional investment business including working for the Schwab Washington Research Group and then Legg Mason from 1993-1999.

Public Service Background

Scott Cleland served as a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy for six years in the W. Bush Administration and six years in the Obama Administration from 2002-2014.

In 2002, Cleland conceived and was the Founding Chairman of the Investorside Research Association, the first association of independent research firms serving investors, and the first U.S. financial association to require an ethics policy to be a member.

He was the lead source and primary analyst for Hedrick Smith's Emmy Award winning PBS Frontline Special, "The Wall Street Fix." Immediately following the surprise announcement of Enron's bankruptcy, Cleland was the first analyst asked to testify before Congress to explain how its then near record corporate fraud could happen.

Scott Cleland's career as a public servant concluded in 1993 as the Deputy United States Coordinator for Communication and Information Policy at the U.S. Department of State, serving President H. W. Bush.

Previously, Cleland served as a Senior Policy Advisor for Legislative Affairs to the then Secretary of State James A. Baker III. He received the Superior Honor Award for his role as the lead congressional briefer to Secretary Baker on all foreign policy matters during the first Gulf War and the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. Prior to that, he served as Director of Legislative Affairs for the U.S. Department of Treasury and as a Budget Examiner for OMB in the U.S. Executive Office of the President.

Education

Scott Cleland earned a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin in 1984 and a BA in Political Science from Kalamazoo College in 1982. In 2000, Cleland earned Kalamazoo College's Distinguished Achievement Award for excellence and achievement in his professional field.

Bona Fides

Proven Responsible Internet Thought Leadership

As the leading regulatory analyst for investors during the birth of communications competition and the techtopian Internet in the 1990s and early 2000s, Cleland knows that the Internet is less a technological or commercial revolution and more of an ideological and government policy revolution.

[By way of background, Internet protocols were invented by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1974. Twenty years later, the U.S. Government decided to make the Internet available for public use for free in 1994. In 1996, Congress established U.S. policy that the Internet should be unfettered by Federal or State regulation (a commons), and Congress also immunized “interactive computer services” from civil liability going forward. In 1998, the U.S. Government created “A Framework for Global Electronic Commerce,” a U.S. policy that effectively made the Internet global, ungoverned, and private-sector led.]

Cleland has been a responsible Internet thought leader over the last twenty years because he has been one of the first and to spot and challenge many key irresponsible Internet developments, disruptions, models, and patterns of behavior.

Cleland’s Responsible Internet Track Record (2000-2019)

At the peak of the Nasdaq Dotcom Bubble in the spring of 2000, Cleland was first analyst to discern that market-leader WorldCom’s Internet hyper-growth business model had hit an antitrust wall and was “Dead Growth Model Walking.” This brought WorldCom more scrutiny that in turn uncovered massive accounting fraud. A year later, he was the first analyst to predict WorldCom’s then record bankruptcy.

At the peak of the Dotcom bubble, investment banking interests were hyping that Internet data traffic was growing at a ~1200% annual rate in early 2001; Cleland’s independent research showed that the real annual data growth rate was ~100%, ~12 times slower. That meant that the whole data backbone market valuation was built on the “irrational economics” of Internet policy, i.e. unsustainable FCC price subsidies and the free Internet peering model/commons.

A month later, the Dotcom Crash destroyed $4 trillion in Nasdaq market value, $1 trillion of which was Internet network and equipment companies. A year later, Cleland again was the first analyst to predict the “telecom debt spiral” and ~$200B in bankruptcies because of the continued Internet policy of “irrational economics” of unsustainable FCC price subsidies.

A few months after the Dotcom Crash, Cleland was asked to testify before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets as an Independent research provider about whether investors were getting unbiased research from Wall Street. Cleland testified that there were real conflicts of interest problems that contributed to investor/pensioner harm in the Dotcom Crash where Americans lost $4T in wealth in the Nasdaq in a matter of months, and during those months only 1% of analysts’ recommendations were “sell.”

Several months later Cleland conceived and co-founded the Investorside Research Association, the first association of independent research providers aligned with investor interests, and the first financial services association in the United States to require a public code of ethics to become a member.

Later in 2001 when Enron became the then largest-ever bankruptcy, the Senate Commerce Committee asked Cleland to testify to explain how it could happen. He testified its cause was egregious structural conflicts of interest and deceptive accounting that consistently hid ballooning losses and risks of Enron Broadband futures contracts from public investors.

A few months later in 2002 after Global Crossing went bankrupt, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight asked Cleland to testify again to explain multiple aspects of how the telecom-Internet sector could become a market bubble and then a debt spiral. Cleland spotlighted the core problem of the FCC’s “irrational economics” in creating an artificial market dependent on increasing government price subsidies and asymmetric regulation of Internet data traffic.

In mid-2002, WorldCom filed for the then largest bankruptcy in history, prompting Congress to immediately pass legislation to address the problem and it was signed into law in eight days, i.e. the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 – The Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency Act.

In 2003, Cleland was the lead independent analyst featured in the Emmy awarded, PBS Frontline Special, "The Wall Street Fix," Produced by Hedrick Smith, that explained how the Dotcom Crash happened.

In 2004 and 2005, Cleland was ranked the #1 Institutional Investor independent analyst in communications, and his firm Precursor Group, where Cleland was CEO, was ranked the #1 independent research provider in communications, in part for pioneering the new field of “change research.”

In 2006, Cleland left the investment research business and became President of Precursor® LLC serving Fortune 500 clients as an industry expert's expert consultant on various internet competition and Internet policy issues, and as Chairman of NetCompetition® a pro-competition e-forum supported by broadband interests.

In 2007, Cleland testified before the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee that Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick would create a search advertising monopoly because they were the only two companies with dominant shares of users, advertisers, and publishers. Cleland warned it was a watershed moment for Internet competition and that lax antitrust enforcement on this merger would be irresponsible. This testimony was built off of a Googleopoly I white paper, which became the first of 29 Googleopoly research papers published on Googleopoly.net.

In 2008, Cleland was among the first analysts to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on how Google-DoubleClick systematically threatens Americans’ privacy. In 2009, Cleland again was among the first analysts to testify to the same House subcommittee on the privacy problems with online behavioral advertising generally. Cleland ultimately published a 41-part research series on Google’s Disrespect for Privacy.

After the 2008 Financial Crisis, Cleland submitted a three-part research series I II III to Federal financial regulators on the Root Causes of the Financial Crisis, i.e. irresponsible systemic risk laundering and systemic uneconomics.

In 2009, Cleland published a white paper “Neutralism: Identifying the Commons Ideology Behind Net Neutrality.” “This white paper’s core conclusion is the ideological tension will only increase between the competing visions: calling for a new mandated digital commons vs. defending the existing free market based on property rights.”

In 2010, Cleland testified before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee on “The State of Competition in the Evolving Digital Marketplace,” and warned the Internet is “characterized by a “winner-take-all” dynamic with a natural propensity to extreme centralization, concentration, and monopoly power.”

In 2011, Cleland authored the first critical book on Google, “Search and Destroy: Why You Can’t Trust Google Inc.” which for the first time documented in detail that Google was unethical and systematically irresponsible with what belongs to others.

In 2012, Cleland was early in detecting the beginnings of the current global Techlash against Internet irresponsibility in spotlighting the seven ways the world was going to fundamentally change the Internet, stating “the utopian era of a universal Internet appears to be coming to a close. Reality has hit; the Internet’s weaknesses, problems, and abuses have to be addressed and fixed...”

In 2012, Cleland held Google accountable for its leadership in blocking passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act in a Forbes op-ed, that ended up as one part of a 39-part research series on Google’s Disrespect for Property.

In 2013, a Cleland Daily Caller Op-ed called for “Congress to Restore Our Rightful Privacy Ownership;” and in 2018, explained in a research piece “How Americans Lost Their Broad Legal Rights to Privacy.”

In 2013 when cryptocurrencies were nascent, Cleland described cryptocurrencies as effectively like Ponzi schemes that depended on the “greater fool theory” and predicted that cryptocurrencies would be a bubble that would end badly, because they were not legal tender and because they were based on the irrational and irresponsible techtopian “abundance” uneconomics that was a root cause of the Dotcom Crash.

In 2015, Cleland was the first to publish on ethical implications of “The Appearance of Google-USG Conflicts of Interest Grows.” “Public evidence also shows that seven former employees of, or consultants to, Google, appear to be conveniently and simultaneously positioned in most every major federal policy or law enforcement area of commercial interest to Google Inc.” This ultimately became one part of a 72-part series on Google Unaccountability.

In 2017, Cleland’s research was the first to 1) show to the FCC and antitrust authorities that the irresponsibility of lax antitrust enforcement enabled the U.S. Internet sector to become 10x more concentrated than the offline marketplace; 2) show how Amazon, Google & Facebook are the same standard monopoly distribution networks and models; and 3) show why Facebook, Google, and Amazon would be become the epicenter of the bipartisan techlash. All these research conclusions have become foundational to the U.S. Government’s current inquiries into Internet irresponsibility problems.

In late 2017, Cleland presented a seminal white paper “America’s Antitrust Enforcement Credibility Crisis,” that was the first to spotlight and document the failure of U.S. antitrust enforcement to “protect the process of competition,” from three enduring and extending, intermedia standard distribution monopolies and monopsonies (Google, Facebook and Amazon) and from four online ecosystem cartelizations: intermedia cartelization bottlenecking the economy; digital advertising cartelization; search ecosystem cartelization; and cartelization of U.S. Internet startup financing. The White Paper also spotlighted that U.S. Internet industrial policy was a core root cause of all these antitrust problems. This white paper effectively previews the multiple current antitrust probes by the DOJ, FTC and State AGs.

In 2017 and 2018, Cleland published a multi-part research series on SESTA-FOSTA, the U.S. Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and seminal amendment to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 is the irresponsible essence and core of Section 230’s U.S. Internet-First industrial policy. The responsible Internet advocacy series below helped Congress to understand how important Section 230 is in enabling, encouraging, subsidizing and immunizing Internet platforms’ irresponsibility.

  • “There’s no freedom of speech to enable child sex trafficking” here;
  • “How Section 230 is a destructive double standard” here;
  • “Asymmetric accountability produces predictable problems” here;
  • “The beginning of the end of America’s bad ‘no-rules’ Internet policy” here;
  • “Facebook fiasco is exactly what U.S Internet, incents, produces and protects” here;
  • “Congress learns Section 230 is the linchpin of Internet platform unaccountability” here;
  • Internet platform corporate welfare and Leechonomics: the huge hidden public costs (>$1.5T) of U.S. Internet industrial policy here;
  • “What most stunts FTC antitrust and consumer protection law enforcement?” here; and
  • “Evident Internet Market Failure to Protect Consumer Welfare -- White Paper” here.

In 2018 in a critique of the FTC’s lax antitrust enforcement, Cleland explained that the key unfair “player and referee problem” competitors face in trying to competing with Google, Facebook and Amazon is actually much worse that the dual role.

Consider this competition scenario: Assume three sports leagues. The government grants only one team in each sports league these special benefits. 1) They don’t have to follow the rules of the game that all other teams must follow. 2) The city and state laws that apply to all opponents in their respective arenas do not apply to them. 3) They are immune from liability for harming opponent players, coaches, and fans. 4) When they play against their opponents, they get to referee the game, and can change the rules of the game anytime they want, with no appeal by the other teams. Which team wins each league’s championship every single year? Sadly, that’s the unfair competition game with online platforms.

In 2018, at the University of Chicago Stigler antitrust conference on “Digital Platforms and Concentration,” Cleland presented a white paper that defended the Chicago consumer welfare standard and systematically rejected the corruption of the “Google School of no antitrust.”

In 2018, Cleland published a seminal white paper: “Internet Platform Corporate Welfare and Leechonomics: The Huge Hidden Public Costs (>$1.5T) of U.S. Internet Industrial Policy” that helped change how many in Congress view section 230’s civil liability immunity, not as just a “safe harbor,” but now also as an unnecessary enormous trillion dollar taxpayer “subsidy” to the wealthiest companies on earth.

In late 2018, Cleland spotlighted the source of the ethical problems of the main online platforms in a piece entitled “Google Facebook Amazon’s Civil Liability Immunity = A Culture of Un-Ethics?” Simply, one gets the behaviors that are incented and undeterred. This is one part of a 57-part series on Asymmetric Accountability Harms.

In 2018 Cleland submitted a seminal white paper for the FTC’s 2018 competition hearings and to the DOJ Cyber-Digital Task Force, “Evident Internet Market Failure to Protect Consumer Welfare,” which explained, documented, and proved how techtopian Internet policy of amoral authority, asymmetric accountability, and immunized irresponsibility inverts normal market and societal incentives to not protect consumer welfare, innovation, choice, quality, and public safety.

In 2019, Cleland pioneered new research perspectives that spotlight the change towards a more responsible Internet. First, a new Internet Reset Research™ perspective for investors to anticipate and navigate the competitive and investment effects of the Internet Reset, the geopolitical secular change from an ungoverned irresponsible Internet to a more governed and responsible Internet. Second, Macrointernetics™ the new perspective that aggregates Internet disruptions for the first time to understand the macro dysfunctions and systemic risks caused by irresponsible universal Internet disruptions.

Selected Research

  1. Scott Cleland, Precursor® August 7, 2018, white paper submitted to FTC hearing on “Competition and Consumer Protection in Communication, Information, and Media Technology Networks”; “The Unfair and Deceptive Online-Offline Playing Field of Divergent U.S. Competition and Consumer Protection Policy.” “Internet policy has been the determinative dynamic of U.S. competition and consumer protection in the 21st Century. Government exemptions/immunities evidently heavily favor regulatory arbitrage over free market competition and drive the evident divergent reality where most of U.S. competition and consumer protection problems occur online not offline.”
  2. Scott Cleland, Precursor® July 30, 2018; An e-White Paper submitted to the FTC: “A Case Study of Alphabet-Google’s 2004-2018 Privacy Track Record of Evident Unfair and Deceptive Over-collection of Consumers’ Personal Data Exposes an Evident Gap in the FTC’s Remedial Authority to Protect Consumers.” Public comment for the FTC’s fall 2018 hearing on “The Commission’s remedial authority to deter unfair and deceptive conduct in privacy and data security matters.”
  3. Scott Cleland, Precursor® May 31, 2018, white paper submission submission for: the U.S. DOJ Cyber-Digital Task Force June 2018 Report to the Attorney General Tasked to “…ensure that Internet-based technologies remain sources of enrichment, rather than becoming forces of destruction and vectors of chaos.” & Submission for the U.S. DOJ Antitrust Division 5-31-18 Antitrust Roundtable on Anticompetitive Regulation which “will assess the consumer costs of anticompetitive regulations.” “Evident Internet Market Failure to Protect Consumer Welfare, Utopian Internet Policy of Amoral Authority & Asymmetric Accountability Legalizes Online Civil Illegality, which Legally Inverts Normal Market Incentives, to Not Protect Consumer Welfare, Innovation, Choice, and Quality. Thus, Government Policy Failure Causes Internet Market Failure for Protecting Consumer Welfare, Security, Privacy & Honesty.”
  4. Scott Cleland, Precursor® April 19, 2018 presented a white paper to the University of Chicago, Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State, 2018 Antitrust and Competition Conference on Digital Platforms and Concentration. “A White Paper Rejecting the Google School of No-Antitrust Fake Consumer Welfare Standard -- Why a consumer price of free, or a lower price, is not a Monopoly® Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card.”
  5. Scott Cleland, Precursor® April 16, 2018 white paper published on PrecursorBlog. “Internet Platform Corporate Welfare and Leechonomics: The Huge Hidden Public Costs (>$1.5T) of U.S. Internet Industrial Policy; SUMMARY: Sweeping Government exemptions/immunities from risks and costs overwhelmingly favor zero-sum, parasitic policy arbitrage and corporate welfare, which perversely fosters unproductive “leechonomics.” U.S. Internet policy most incents platform business that maximizes arbitrage spreads, i.e. taking maximal societal risk that un-immunized competitors can’t take, where the benefits can be capitalized by platforms, and the costs socialized to the public (>$1.5T), because the government has only exempted and immunized platforms from normal accountability/responsibility for consumer welfare. Note: This white paper introduces a new cost-estimation model for corporate welfare generated by the arbitrage effects of U.S. Internet Policy; it builds upon a previous Precursor causation model that explains and predicts the anticompetitive arbitrage effects of asymmetric accountability to the public.”
  6. Scott Cleland, Precursor® March 14, 2018 white paper submission for: U.S. DOJ Antitrust Division 3-14-18 Roundtable on Antitrust Exemptions & Immunities. “A Market Divided U.S. Internet Policy Creates Anticompetitive Asymmetric Accountability. Government exemptions and immunities overwhelmingly favor regulatory arbitrage over free market competition. Accountability arbitrage harms: consumer welfare; free market forces; the process of competition; and economic growth.” (Note: A new causation model explains the anticompetitive arbitrage effects of asymmetric accountability.)
  7. Scott Cleland, Precursor® December 12, 2017, presented a white paper, at the Capitol Forum CQ 4th annual Tech Competition Conference on “Obstacles to Antitrust Enforcement. “A White Paper on America’s Antitrust Enforcement Credibility Crisis: America’s three enduring intermedia monopolies and four market cartelizations are a result of lax, asymmetric antitrust law enforcement & America’s anticompetitive Internet-first industrial policy.”
  8. Scott Cleland, Precursor® October 25,2017 published a white paper on PrecursorBlog; “Telling Timeline of Google Guardian’s Government Influence -- Top Takeaways: 1. Neutralization of Google’s Federal Law Enforcement Risks in Antitrust, IP, & Privacy; 2. Extension of Google’s Monopoly to Android & the Mobile Ecosystem; 3. Elimination of Much Direct Competition to Google; 4. Winner-take-all is consumer-down-fall."
  9. Scott Cleland Precursor® September 15, 2016, published a white paper on Googleopoly.net; “Google’s Information is Power -- Info-opoly Power; Summary of Google Info-opoly Conclusions: 1. Google’s unmatchable hoard of the “world’s accessible digital information” makes it a consumer info-opoly. 2. Google’s info-opoly is enduring given overwhelming barriers to competition. 3. Google effectively has admitted to predatory pricing and anticompetitive monopoly cross-subsidization. 4. Google has a pattern of dictating a predatory wholesale price of zero for info providers’ info. 5. Structurally, Google can be divided into three key parts for antitrust purposes: information, information-access, and advertising.”
  10. Scott Cleland Precursor® September 2014, published a white paper on Googleopoly.net; “Google’s WorldWideWatch over the WorldWideWeb -- Charting Google’s Internet Empire & Data Hegemony Google’s Data Dominance is Vast, Purposeful, Lasting & Harmful.”
  11. Scott Cleland Precursor® April 25, 2013, published the first white paper on the ideological clash over the Digital Commons, on PrecursorBlog. “What is The Code War? Explaining the Ideological Struggle over: A Digital Information Commons of Free Content/Software/Bandwidth; Realspace Rule of Law vs. Cyberspace Rule of Code; & A Respect Culture vs. Free Culture Codism.” What is Codism? The Cyber-Ideology of the Digital Information Commons is: A utopian cyberspace ideal of a virtual civilization of the mind made up of many cyberworlds and cyber-societies based upon the foundation of a digitally-coded information commons, upon which an open and neutral architecture of digital code can be built, which is public, not privately owned or controlled. A virtual/cyber-space ideology that recognizes that information technology is inherently and necessarily ideological because code embodies political choices and values, that can be hidden, if code is not open and public. A virtual civilization that resists sovereign control/governance and private/ corporate ownership of ideas, information, innovation, or intellectual creativity. A political-economic theory of digital abundance centered upon the importance of a digital-coded information commons, where there is no intellectual property or network discrimination, so that the cyber-means of production and distribution of information and creativity in cyberspace are equally accessible and enjoyed by all. An egalitarian utopian vision that everyone can have access to all the world’s information and knowledge to enable technology to solve most of society’s most vexing social, economic and political problems. An intellectual movement predicated on the idea of a virtual civilization of the mind where “information wants to be free,” and software should be free --meaning no one has to ask or pay to use digitally coded information, software or networks. “A kind of society that real space would never allow –freedom without anarchy, control without government, consensus without power.” Lawrence Lessig Code 2.0.”
  12. Scott Cleland Precursor® October 25, 2012, presented a white paper to the Korea Council on the Protection of Personal Information in Seoul Korea; “The Unique Google Privacy Problem; Why Google's Forced-Integrated Privacy Policy is So Problematic," “This analysis should be of great interest to the ~35 privacy authorities around the world which currently oppose Google's forced-integrated privacy policy (and other nations and privacy professionals as well), because it provides strong evidence, supporting rationale and conclusions to help nations address the #1 global privacy problem.”
  13. Scott Cleland Precursor® September 13, 2010, published a white paper on Googleopoly.net, on the proposed Google-AdMob merger. “FTC Case against Google’s Acquisition of AdMob.” SUMMARY: A Google acquisition of AdMob would eliminate Google’s only substantial rival platform in mobile in-application advertising and catapult Google from an estimated 25% share to over 75% share of this strategic gatekeeper market for monetizing mobile Internet applications. Combined with Google’s search advertising monopoly and dominance of mobile search advertising, Google’s acquisition of AdMob, “the world’s largest mobile advertising marketplace,” would likely tip the broader mobile advertising marketplace from a competitive to a monopoly trajectory. In short, the AdMob acquisition threatens to foreclose competition and facilitate monopoly in a strategic gatekeeper market essential to the Internet economy, which would harm: consumers, developers, advertisers, publishers, smart-phone manufacturers, and broadband providers.”
  14. Scott Cleland Precursor® February 2009, published the first White Paper explaining the ideological clash over Net Neutrality on PrecursorBlog. “Neutralism: Identifying the Commons Ideology behind Net Neutrality; Abstract. The premise behind this white paper is that few understand that there is a surprisingly well-developed ideology and school of economic thought behind the net neutrality issue, regardless of whether one agrees of disagrees with it. Thus, the purpose of this white paper is to educate by briefly defining, explaining, and tracing the origins of the ideology and economic thought behind net neutrality. The value of this paper is that it connects-the-dots and fills-in-gaps for those seeking to more fully understand the issue. Simply, neutralism is the commons ideology behind the net neutrality movement. Neutralists believe that digital information and communications networks should be a public commons, not private property requiring permission or payment to use. Neutralists believe that: 1) Digital technology, if unshackled from ownership restrictions and payment requirements, is a powerful means for creating a more egalitarian society; 2) The end-to-end design of the Internet creates a digital commons that is open to decentralized innovation; and 3) The Internet should not be controlled by market players because it is necessary for democratic discourse. Neutralists generally oppose Big Business incumbents (broadband, media and software) and the expansion of intellectual property as opponents of Internet users, because they enable the owning and controlling of information, communication, and ultimately culture -- for the benefit of the propertied-few at the expense of the potential of the many. Neutralists believe technology and innovation, in concert with public commons for information and communication, can transform the traditional capitalistic economics of scarcity -- into the more egalitarian economics of abundance -- i.e. ‘neutralnomics.’ An underlying premise of neutralnomics is that when faced with resource abundance, capitalism naturally will try to create artificial scarcity or face economic collapse. The white paper also traces the origins of neutralism. First, the de facto father of neutralism is Richard M. Stallman who founded the free software movement with the belief that users should not have to ask for permission or pay for software. Second, Eben Moglen is profiled for his key ideological grounding for neutralism. Third, Lawence Lessig is credited with the mainstream popularization of neutralism and melding free software commons thinking with end-to-end Internet commons thinking. Fourth, Yochai Benkler is profiled as the one who formalized the economic theory behind neutralism. Fifth, David Bollier is credited with creating the initial and formative public policy agenda of Neutralism in “Saving the Information Commons.” This white paper’s core conclusion is: the ideological tension will only increase between the competing visions: calling for a new mandated digital commons vs. defending the existing free market based on property rights. That is because the underlying trends creating the pre-conditions for neutralism are likely to persist and accelerate -- i.e. the declining cost economics of digital abundance, and the increased adoption of Internet social “Web 2.0” applications.”
  15. Scott Cleland Precursor® October 3, 2008, published a second white paper on Googleopoly.net on the proposed Google-Yahoo Ad Agreement. “Googleopoly III: Dependency: The Crux of the Google-Yahoo Ad Agreement Problem. “Would Yahoo Compete as Vigorously with Google Post-Agreement? Abstract: The crux of the decision of whether the DOJ blocks or blesses the Google-Yahoo ad partnership is the DOJ’s best assessment of whether Yahoo would compete as vigorously with Google after the agreement as before it. At core, the proposed Google-Yahoo ad agreement would transform Google from being just Yahoo’s primary competitor, to also being Yahoo’s single most important business relationship: financially, operationally and strategically. The purpose of this white paper is to analytically “stress test” the credibility of Google and Yahoo’s assertions that Yahoo would have the same incentive to compete as vigorously with Google -- post-agreement.”
  16. Scott Cleland Precursor® September 23, 2008, published a white paper on Googleopoly.net on the proposed Google-Yahoo Ad Agreement. “Googleopoly II* Google’s Predatory Playbook to Thwart Competition. Introduce the “Unified Theory of Googleopoly” by enumerating twenty-six sources of Google’s market power; and Explain Google’s predatory playbook to foreclose competition where Google: Cartelizes most search competitors into financially-dependent ‘partnerships; Pays website traffic leaders predatory supra competitive fees to lock up traffic share; Buys/co-opts any potential first-mover product/service that could obsolete the search category’s boundaries; Commoditizes search complements to neutralize potential competition; and Leverages information asymmetry to create entry barriers for competitive platforms.”
  17. Scott Cleland Precursor® published the first White Paper on Google’s anticompetitive potential, on Googleopoly.net, July 17, 2007. “Googleopoly I: The Google-DoubleClick Anti-Competitive Case. Theory of the Case: Google and DoubleClick each dominate the two leading competitive technology platforms to deliver targeted online advertising, i.e. the market of using technology to monetize the intermediation of the three core online advertising constituencies: users, advertisers, and content providers, and also the leading business model for providing access to Internet content. With ~60% share of each of their respective technology platforms, search and display, technologies which are mutually-reinforcing, the combination would enable a horizontal merger to monopoly, which would harm users, advertisers and content providers with higher prices and less choice.”

Congressional Testimony

  • House Judiciary Competition Subcommittee, 9-16-10, Hearing on "Competition in the Evolving Digital Marketplace," "The Evolving Competition Digital Dichotomy & Why Googleopoly is the Main Antitrust Event"
  • Joint House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee, 6-18-09, Joint Hearing on Behavioral Advertising, "Why A Consumer-Driven, Technology/Competition-Neutral, Privacy Framework Is Superior to a Default ‘Finders Keepers Losers Weepers' Privacy Framework"
  • House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Internet Hearing, 9-17-08, "The Blind Eye to Privacy Law Arbitrage by Google -- Broadly Threatens Respect for Privacy"
  • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee On Antitrust, 9-27-07, "Google-DoubleClick Merger and the Online Advertising Industry," "The Google-DoubleClick Anti-competitive Case"
  • Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, 10-19-05, "Video and Telecom Competition is Increasingly Vibrant and Here to Stay, Recommendations on Telecom Reform Legislation"
  • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, 4-19-05, "Telecom Mergers in a Techcom World: How Antitrust Must Adapt to the Techcom Future"
  • Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, 2-11-04, Oversight Hearing, "Cable Competition - Increasing Price; Increasing Value?"
  • Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, 6-18-03, Oversight Hearing, "NewsCorp/Hughes Proposed Merger"
  • House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, June 18, 2003, 6-16-03, "Mutual Funds Integrity and Fee Transparency Act of 2003"
  • House Financial Services Oversight Subcommittee, 3-21-02, "Global Crossing's Bankruptcy: A Window Into a Broken System of Protecting Investors"
  • Senate Commerce Committee, Panel on Consumer Affairs, 12-18-01, Hearing on Enron Bankruptcy, "Conflicts of Interest Are Eroding the Market's Integrity and Internal Controls"
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, 6-14-01, "Who's Looking Out for Investors?"
  • House Judiciary Committee, June 5, 2001, 6-5-01 Oversight Hearing, "House Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001"
  • House Judiciary Committee, 7-18-00, Legislative Hearing on H.R. 1686, the "Internet Freedom Act" and H.R. 1685, the "Internet Growth and Development Act of 1999"
  • House Judiciary Committee, 6-30-99, House Internet Freedom Act and Internet Growth, Development Act of 1999
  • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Business Rights and Competition, 5-19-98, Telephone Industry Consolidation

Book: Search & Destroy
Why You Can't Trust Google Inc.

Book: Search & Destroy - Why You Can't Trust Google Inc.

This is the other side of the Google story—the unauthorized book that Google does not want you to read. In Search & Destroy, Google expert Scott Cleland, shows that the world's most powerful company is not who it pretends to be.

Google pretends to be a harmless lamb, but chose a full-size model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex as its mascot. Beware the T-Rex in sheep's clothing.

Google has acquired far more information, both public and private, and has invented more ways to use it, than anyone in history. Information is power, and in Google's case, it's the power to influence and control virtually everything the Internet touches.

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Selected Media

  • Tucker Carlson Tonight, Fox News, "Google reportedly strengthens its Communist China ties," 8-1-18
  • Broadcasting and Cable Magazine, "The Five Spot Interview with Scott Cleland," 8-13-18
  • Ali Velshi, MSNBC, "Facebook Knows a Lot About You But Google Knows Lots More," 4-30-18
  • Tucker Carlson Tonight, Fox News, "Is Google Censoring Free Speech?," 8-16-17
  • The Diane Rehm Show, National Public Radio, "AT&T's Proposed Acquisition of Time Warner," 10-25-16
  • The Digital Post (EU), "Search + Android + Chrome = Google's Gatekeeper Inner-net Regime", 2-29-16
  • The Verge, "Internet providers prepare for war with FCC over expansion of net neutrality", 2-5-15
  • San Jose Mercury News, "Google to enter the wireless business", 1-22-15
  • CNBC/Nightly Business Report, "President Obama urges FCC reclassification of broadband Internet as a utility", 11-10-14
  • The Blaze, "Glenn Beck talks to Author Scott Cleland on Google & his book 'Search & Destroy'" 1-13-14
  • CBS Evening News, "Google Surveillance Far Surpasses the NSA," 6-11-13
  • The New York Times, "Google Concedes That Drive-by Prying Violated Privacy," " 3-13-13
  • The Diane Rehm Show, NPR,"FCC's Proposal for Nationwide Wireless Network," 2-5-13
  • The Diane Rehm Show, National Public Radio, "The Future of Landline Phones," 12-6-12
  • Managing IP Magazine, "Opinion: Google is waging war on IP law," 8-9-12
  • Fox News, "Breaking down Google Privacy Issue," Justice with Judge Jeanine, 7-10-12
  • Bloomberg West, Bloomberg TV, "EU May Rule Google Monopoly, Sanction Firm," 3-1-12
  • C-SPAN, "The Communicators: Scott Cleland on Google's Senate Antitrust Hearing," 9-23-11
  • Fox News, "Can You Trust Google?," Fox and Friends, 5-9-11
  • USAToday.com, "Scott Cleland's new book details why Google can't be trusted," 5-4-11
  • Investors Business Daily, "When Analysts Look Over Their Shoulders," Brian Deagon, 12-24-10
  • USAToday, "Google Takes Issue with Vocal Critics Gary Reback, Scott Cleland," 12-3-10
  • CNBC Street Signs, "Get Ready for Google TV," 8-18-10
  • CSPAN,"The Communicators: Scott Cleland & Markham Erickson on Net Neutrality," 12-4-09
  • Investors Business Daily; "Q&A Scott Cleland: Google Big Beneficiary of Lobbying" 9-12-08
  • Smart Money Magazine, "Side Effects" Eric Savitz, 8-06
  • PBS Frontline Special, "The Wall Street Fix," Produced by Hedrick Smith, 5-8-03
  • Fortune Magazine, "Calling WorldCom's Woes," Stephanie Mehta, 7-22-02
  • National Journal, "The Profits of Being Less Clueless," W. John Moore, 9-16-00

Selected Op-Eds

  • New Europe, "How EU Amazon Antitrust Probe Spotlights Amazon as an Unlevel Playing Field." 10-11-18
  • The Daily Caller, "There Is A Solid Conservative Antitrust Case Against Alphabet-Google." 1-19-18
  • The Daily Caller, "Treat The Cause, Not Symptoms, Of Google & Facebook's Election Unaccountability," 11-3-17
  • BuzzFeed News, "The Power of Facebook, Google and Amazon Is An Issue For the Left And Right, 9-7-17
  • The Hill, "Internet giants, not broadband providers are the top threat to consumers, 5-3-17
  • The Australian, "Google Out to Steal From Australians" 3-17-17
  • Daily Caller, "How Internet Commons Policies Lessen Growth, Jobs and Security,” 11-28-16
  • New Europe, "Why Google Can't Criticize EU Much for Ruling it Dominant & Anticompetitive", 2-26-16
  • The Daily Caller, "America's Upside Down Cyber-Priorities," 8-17-15
  • The Daily Caller, "The FCC's Title II Trifecta Gamble," 7-13-15
  • The Daily Caller, "How America Protects National Champion Google in EU," 3-5-15
  • The Daily Caller, "Who Pays for Net Neutrality?" 12-3-14
  • The Daily Caller, "Online Video Competition's Tipping Point Just Tipped," 4-8-14
  • The Daily Caller, "The de-Americanization of the Internet," 11-19-13
  • The Daily Caller, "New U.S. spectrum policy has big problems," 6-19-13
  • The Daily Caller, "Obsolete Privacy Law," 1-22-13
  • The Hill, "Courts, not FTC, Should Decide on Google Practices," 12-10-12
  • Politico, LTE on Google Politicization of antitrust review, 10-16-12
  • The Daily Caller, "US Government's wasteful hoarding & rationing of spectrum" 9-7-12
  • The Daily Caller, "Why U.S. Communications Law is Obsolete," 6-25-12
  • The Wall Street Journal, LTE -- Google and Microsoft cases are Different, 4-29-12
  • Forbes CIO Network, "Seven Ways the World is Changing the Internet," 1-11-12
  • Forbes CIO Network, "Obsolete Television Law Needs Modernization" 1-4-12
  • The Huffington Post, "Big Brother Inc.," 5-23-11
  • The Seattle Times, "Wake Up to Google's Threat to Journalism" 2-6-09
  • The Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Googleopoly Darkens the Future of Innovation" 11-27-08
  • The Washington Times, "The Ultimate Internet Gatekeeper" 9-30-07
  • The Washington Times, "America's Unique Internet Success" 2-1-07
  • The Financial Times, "Follow the Money to Wall Street's Big Secret" 11-8-02