Posted in Menacing Monopoly

FTC staff wanted to go after Google, accidentally disclosed documents show

The Federal Trade Commission should have listened to its staff:

The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday faced renewed questions about its handling of its antitrust investigation into Google, after documents revealed that an internal report had recommended stronger action.

The 2012 report, from the agency’s bureau of competition, said that the agency should sue the Internet search company for anticompetitive practices, according to several people who saw the report but would speak about it only under the condition of anonymity. At least one other staff report, they said, recommended not to pursue a lawsuit. In early 2013, the agency unanimously voted not to bring charges after an investigation.

Google’s critics and competitors on Thursday jumped on the news, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, arguing that the F.T.C. had failed to take appropriate action. They called on Europe, which is now looking into the company’s practices, to pursue tough regulations.

European regulators must not fail to make the same mistakes that the Federal Trade Commission did. They must aggressively discipline Google for any violations of privacy and antitrust laws that they find through a comprehensive, meaningful investigation.