Former FTC Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour, now corporate lawyer for Microsoft (among other clients), wrote this op-ed that appeared in yesterday???s New York Times:
Google is not just a ???search engine company,??? or an ???online services company,??? or a publisher, or an advertising platform. At its core, it???s a data collection company.
Its ???market??? is data by, from and about consumers ??? you, that is. And in that realm, its role is so dominant as to be overwhelming, and scary. Data is the engine of online markets and has become, indeed, a new asset class.
I???ve been concerned about Google???s dominant role in data collection ??? and the profound privacy concerns it raises ??? since my time at the F.T.C. When the commission approved Google???s 2007 acquisition of DoubleClick, I dissented ??? because I was concerned that combining the two companies??? vast troves of consumer information would allow Google, which was largely unchecked by competition, to develop invasive profiles of individuals??? Internet habits.
How dominant is Google?
Looking back at the past 12 months it???s fair to conclude that 2011 was the year that the entertainment industries focused on piracy-fueled Internet censorship. Domain seizures, DNS blockades, raids and arrests dominated the news, and the threat of the SOPA and PIPA bills in the US left millions of Internet users worried. Let???s see how events unfolded.
At the end of the year when new developments draw to a close, it???s time to take a look back and take stock. Below is our overview of some of the most interesting events we reported during the first half of 2011.
Take a deep breath???
And hold your nose.