As part of its lobbying effort to secure FTC approval of its dramatic expansion, Google has hired a former Deputy Assistant Attorney-General for the Antitrust Division. Makan Delrahim, who served at the DoJ from 2003-2005, helped oversee the DoJ’s work work with international antitrust agencies. Among his duties was to chair “the Merger Working Group of the International Competition Network, the recently created virtual network of antitrust enforcers to develop better global coordination and cooperation of competition law enforcement.” Mr. Delrahim’s also worked as Chief Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee under Sen. Orin Hatch. One assumes Google wants to use Mr. Delrahim’s contacts at the FTC and at the European Commission to head-off what should be serious opposition to its take-over of Doubleclick. According to press reports, the new lobbyist has, of course, no qualms about the deal. Bloomberg reports Mr. Delrahim said that “[U]ltimately this is a very robust, dynamic industry. The combination of the two companies will only help create a more efficient system for the online advertising world.” Mr. Delrahim is now in private practice at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.
We have reached a crucial transition period for digital communications and commerce in what should be a global democratic era. It’s too convenient a rationalization to claim that because your mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” you can ignore concerns about user data protection, consumer autonomy, competition, and related civil society issues.