For Immediate Release
January 24, 2023
Accountable Tech Co-Founder and Executive Director Nicole Gill released the following statement Tuesday, after the Department of Justice announced it was suing Google for its monopolistic advertising practices:
“Today’s lawsuit is a historic step towards reigning in dangerous Big Tech monopolies.
Google has long thwarted any potential competition by charging exorbitant gatekeeping fees, manipulating search results to demote its rivals, and running an ad-tech racket. In exchange, users’ experiences have gotten worse, news publishers have been undercut, and our information ecosystem has suffered – all while corporate profits surged.
Accountable Tech has long believed this practice is an unfair method of competition, as we made the case for in our petition for rulemaking submitted to the FTC in September 2021. We applaud this much-needed action from the Department of Justice, and will continue our work advocating for structural reform to hold Big Tech monopolies like Google accountable.”
In September 2021, Accountable Tech filed a rulemaking petition urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to ban surveillance advertising as an “unfair method of competition.” The petition demonstrated the inherently and cyclically anticompetitive nature of surveillance advertising: Big Tech companies with massive scale and data advantages – which create high barriers to entry and easy leverage into adjacent markets – are uniquely situated to (1) unfairly extract and monetize more user data; (2) unfairly integrate that data across business lines; and (3) actively suppress competition.
In late December 2021, the rulemaking petition was published in the Federal Register, opening a 30 day public comment period. A breadth of stakeholders demonstrated their support for the petition – from experts like Shoshana Zuboff (whose foundational work on surveillance capitalism helped define this movement) to over 2,000 signatories of a collective public comment.
The petition was also recently recognized in the FTC’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on commercial surveillance and data security rulemaking.