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Google Businesses United States Technology

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin Wants Justice Department To Scrutinize Big Tech (cnbc.com) 128

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Monday joined the growing chorus of government officials concerned about tech monopolies. From a report: When asked if Google is a monopoly, Mnuchin said, "These are issues that the Justice Department needs to look at seriously -- not for any one company -- but obviously as these technology companies have a greater and greater impact on the economy, I think that you have to look at the power they have," Mnuchin told CNBC's "Squawk Box." Mnuchin acknowledged that antitrust matters don't fall under his jurisdiction, but said someone ought to be looking. His comments come on the heels of a "60 Minutes" segment on Google's unparalleled market share in online search. The Sunday night spot included an interview with Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder of Yelp, which he said "would have no shot" if it were being built today.
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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin Wants Justice Department To Scrutinize Big Tech

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  • Remember when Microsoft was the ULTIMATE EVIL in the known universe because you had to download Netscape manually on Windows?

    But remember, Google tracking your every move is fine because their leadership is considered to be "woke".

    • by CrashNBrn ( 1143981 ) on Monday May 21, 2018 @03:25PM (#56648846)

      Good Times. When Netscape was a 25MB download, we were on 5KB/s dialup, and you were potentially downloading it via IE, which couldn't resume interrupted downloads - so after an hour and a half, maybe your download completed or maybe you had to start over again.

      Of course a handful of people discovered Opera, which at the time was a 3-5MB download and had all of Netscape's features including a mail client.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    We need a viable alternative to android/ios, webkit/edge/gecko amd/intel, nvidia/amd, systemd and a lot more.
  • News like this just makes me assume someone in the Administration is afraid of too many news stories and wants to be able to censor them.

    Before Trump I at least looked for some explanation or rational reason. But it is all ruined. Every person in a position of power is corrupt and afraid of truth.

    And while fake news is a problem, is rather have that and truth than lose both. While monopolies can guide or promote an agenda I'd rather be able to read reporting on that influence than have neither. Such a shame

    • The drumbeat to investigate Google and Facebook started long before Trump. In fact the current push is primarily a response to Trump winning, in part because he was able to use Facebook analytics as effectively as Obama...

      And because they helped Trump, even if inadvertently, Google and Facebook must pay. Or so goes the mantra of the day.

      • by bugs2squash ( 1132591 ) on Monday May 21, 2018 @12:05PM (#56647416)
        I think the complaints against facebook are no so much about campaigns doing analysis of data so much as they are about injection of misinformation and stoking divisions. And now that it has been exploited once, even the people that exploited it woudl not want it used against them in the future.
        • I think the complaints against facebook are no so much about campaigns doing analysis of data so much as they are about injection of misinformation and stoking divisions. And now that it has been exploited once, even the people that exploited it woudl not want it used against them in the future.

          I think the press have a virtual monopoly on stoking divisions by running inflammatory headlines like "white person does XYZ to black person". Oddly when a white person is the victim all racial info is left out. This obvious silliness reaches its peak with the "white privilege" concept.

      • The drumbeat to investigate Google and Facebook started long before Trump. In fact the current push is primarily a response to Trump winning, in part because he was able to use Facebook analytics as effectively as Obama...

        Actually, the issue here is not that candidate XYZ won but that it enabled a foreign power to manipulate voters.

        And because they helped Trump, even if inadvertently, Google and Facebook must pay.

        There was and is nothing inadvertent about what the "Internet Research Agency" does. Trump is simply a bit character in this whole mess.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Story [dailywire.com] about one of those foreign entities that was indicted by Muller for interfering with the election.

          Problem, company didn't exist during the election. Yep, evidence of interference from entities that DIDN'T EXIST during election.

          Yea, there was Russian interference. They wrote fake info on Trump and sold it to Clinton. For some reason we don't want to admit THAT happened, but will go bat shit crazy over fake indictments from a special council that seems incompetent.

    • Do you suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS)?

      Do thoughts of Donald Trump fill your every waking moment, and often intrude on your sleep? Are you unable to resist mentioning President Trump in unrelated conversations? Do your friends find you a bore and increasingly avoid your company?

      At last there is help! New Donaldizole has been proven safe and clinically effective at treating TDS.

      Side effects include deplorability, reduced capacity for self-deception, war weariness, and MAGA.

      Ask your doctor abou

    • Wouldn't at all be surprised if this is a side-channel attack on Jeff Bezos from Trump via Mnuchin. We'll find out soon enough I'm sure.
      • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

        Wouldn't it be better if we could have a discussion about something not related to politics with out some idiot bringing Trump into it?

        • Wouldn't it be better if we had leadership in this country that didn't completely and utterly polarize all 350,000,000 of us with their idiocy and corruption, so we didn't have to be discussing it every goddamned motherfucking day? Or would you prefer we all stick our heads in the sand, put our fingers in our ears and go LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU! when the fuck-up of the day happens? Oh and by the way you're not helping!
          • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

            An yet, we are doing just fine.

            • What do you mean "we"? Oh you mean the slightly-less-than-half the country that voted for Trump? LOL.
              • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

                I mean me, and you, and our society as a whole. The economy hasn't collapsed. There hasn't been a nuclear war. All the Hispanics haven't been rounded up and tossed out of the country. In fact none of what liberals have been whining about for the last year has come true.

                Sure we have some problems. Gun control is a big one. There are some environmental policies that are of some concern. That screeching fool Maxine Waters is still in office. But even with all that on a whole we are doing just fine

                • Listen, buddy: what we don't have at current, that is more important than anything else, is BALANCE. The political needle has swung violently all the way to the bleeding-edge right, slammed up against the stop, and bent the goddamned needle . NEITHER party should have Free Reign to do whatever the fuck they want and that's pretty much where we are right now -- and with a narcissistic, unqualified 5-year-old who can't decouple his ego from his decision-making process to save his life, as POTUS. Just because
                  • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

                    Well first, lay off with the bold. It doesn't help your case and actually makes you come across as some what deranged. An looking deranged is actually the last thing you need to look like now.

                    Now then, we need to put to rest your fantasy and replace them with some facts. Lets get started.

                    We have balance. There are democrats and republicans in congress that keep the president in check. Notice, he is a president and not a king. So many people keep forgetting that. With that said neither party has

                    • Notice, he is a president and not a king. So many people keep forgetting that.

                      This reminds me of trying to talk to an acquaintance a while back about issues at work. She only wanted to talk about Trump. After 15 minutes I wanted to change topic and she wouldn't let go. My refusing to make my 24/7 topic Trump had her go into a meltdown where she literally said he was going to create concentration camps for all blacks and gays etc etc and if we didn't discuss him and how to stop him we were signing their death warrants.

                      I could only think "Do.... do you really think he can make conc

                    • No there IS NO BALANCE when both House and Senate are dominated by Republicans; Democrats are hanging on by the skin of their teeth just to BLOCK things, and that's not working so well either. So much for that so-called 'fact'.
                      Trump THINKS he's King and can do whatever he wants. That's what matters. A sane, emotionally balanced person would not think that way, they would de-couple their EGO (and his is gigantic) from the job. Not so with Trump. So much for that 'fact', too.
                      NO, he is NOT QUALIFIED. He's a
                    • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

                      The fictional name for this is called TDS, Trump Derangement Syndrome. It's supposed to be a sarcastic response to point out how silly peoples negative obsession with Trump is. But with some of the comments I keep seeing I wonder if we might have a real physiological disorder here.

                      I kept trolling here hoping at some point he would see how silly he was getting but I guess not.

                    • I'm no goddamned snowflake, you asshole, but Trump voters/supporters are bent. There's no balance in this country right now and that's bad -- unless you're a Trump supporter, in which case you can't see past the end of your own nose. Obama may have fucked some things up, but not anywhere near as bad a pussy-grabber-in-chief has been fucking things up. Granted, it's a slow-motion train wreck, but it's still a train wreck in progress. No worries, though, starting with the mid-term elections, the Correction wi
                    • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

                      An there class is a classic case of TDS meltdown. Now unless there are any questions, I believe we can wrap it up here.

                      Class dismissed.

                    • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

                      I could only think "Do.... do you really think he can make concentration camps for everyone that isn't white and straight and the government would just let him????"

                      The President cannot do that, and that's where some of this "deep state" and "the swamp" talk comes up. They expect that everyone, including various people in the executive branch, have to be personally loyal to Trump and do whatever he wants. That is not, and should not be the case.

                    • You're really an arrogant sonofabitch aren't you? Are you this arrogant in person, too? You must be just a joy to be around. If you have kids I feel sorry for them having to put up with your authoritarian know-it-all attitude. Troll your own kids, too?
                    • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

                      Oh the "deep state." wooo wooo. I remember hearing talk of the deep state and the shadow government on fox news one night. I had to put my hand over my eyes to keep them from rolling out of my head.

                      Deep state is just the right wing version of lefty loons Trumps concentration camps. Complete an utter non-sense. Right loons would have us believe that Obama is running some secret government out of some spider hole in Nebraska.

                    • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

                      Calm down. Take some deep breaths. in, out, in, out. There feel better.? You where trolled. It happens to everyone at some point. It's not really that big of a deal.

                    • Let's explain what's meant by deep state. In a democracy or a republic the top levels of government are subject to changing every few years from one party to another. These parties are likely to have differing political and policy priorities. Beneath these political types are a bureaucracy consisting of people whose job it is to carry out the policies of those elected or appointed over them, provided such policies are legal. Their job does not include stonewalling or trying to prevent the implementation of
  • by KixWooder ( 5232441 ) on Monday May 21, 2018 @11:42AM (#56647256)
    Big Tech is no better than Big Oil or Big Pharmaceutical.
    • Agreed - and I think you'll find that the primary difference is how each industry aligns with the current administration's objectives. Those that don't align are subjected to scrutiny. Those that do aren't.
  • And here I thought that separation of powers meant that people from the Executive should shut the fuck up about stuff concerning the way Justice conducts its business.

    • You do realize that the Justice department is part of the executive branch right?

  • that cause a single winner in each info-technology niche.

    It's that one company executes better, and then the network effect kicks in, as that company collects more customers (who prefer it) and then gets the value of the collective interactions of and data from all those customers.

    For consumers, often it's the case that having the search knowledge or the social network spread among different providers / applications just makes like more complicated for them, and reduces the simplicity and value proposition

    • The problem is that, yes, once upon a time, google was the best at search because they had the best algorithms. Since MS was really trying not to rock the boat on anti-trust issues, they decided not to push their own search engine too hard. Thus google had a fair shot, and the best engine won. Since then, things have changed, and their algorithms aren't the reason they're the biggest. They're stifling innovation in both purposeful and incidental ways. They of course have more data about all of us, giving us
      • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

        I'm trying to figure out how Google would do this. I can't think of a single service from which Google has steered me away. Not that I use Google for anything outside of search and gmail, but. If a service starts up and Google artificially lowers its rankings, that would definitely get them into big-time anti-trust trouble. I don't see how that would be worth it.

  • We should also scrutinize government agencies and political offices while we're at it.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday May 21, 2018 @12:03PM (#56647402)

    Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Monday joined the growing chorus of government officials concerned about tech monopolies.

    How about the Treasury Secretary worry about banks that are a proven risk to the financial system first? The tech companies didn't cause a global recession within the last 10 years or require massive government bailouts or cheat people out of their homes and savings.

    • How about the Treasury Secretary worry about banks that are a proven risk to the financial system first?

      I'm sure he does. Note how the story begins, "When asked if Google is a monopoly, Mnuchin said, "These are issues that the Justice Department needs to look at seriously...". It then confirms that he knows this is not under his jurisdiction. But there's no reason for him not to have a general opinion, and be suitably suspicious of these companies. As most of us here are....

  • The Sunday night spot included an interview with Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder of Yelp, which he said "would have no shot" if it were being built today.

    We lived with Yellow Pages in the phone book for a hundred years, most of which was monopoly -- mandated at that -- for local and long distance together.

    So..."So?"

    • Wow, pretty disingenuous of a guy running a company whose business model is to extort small businesses whining about Google's potential for abuse of power.
  • He seems to have no problem allowing Sprint and T-Mobile to merge, weakening what little competition there is among the wireless providers.

  • Can we replace him with someone taller please? He can't be trusted to make big boy decisions.
  • They don't want these companies to have less influence.

    They just want more influence over these companies.

    In fact, they want the companies to have more influence. They want to force them to use encryption that they can break. They've tried it before, and here they are trying it again.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft was the target of an antitrust action in the late 90s / early 2000s [wired.com]. Then they ramped up their lobbying spending [opensecrets.org]. The problem went away. Mnuchin is just looking to shake the money tree.

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