US In Antitrust Trial Accuses Google Of Illegal Methods To Push Up Ad Prices

A lawyer for the U.S. Justice Department pressed a Google executive on Wednesday about techniques the search and advertising giant used to push up online advertising prices in an allegedly unfair way. Testifying at a once-in-a-generation antitrust trial in Washington where the U.S. has accused Google of abusing its dominance of search and some advertising, Google VP of Product Management Adam Juda said the company uses a formula, which includes the quality of an ad, to decide who wins auctions used to place advertising on websites.

Google Quietly Raised Ad Prices To Meet Targets

A Google executive on Tuesday admitted to changing the price of advertisements during the auction process to meet revenue targets. The company frequently changes the auction price for search ads and reserve pricing by as much as 5% on average. Jerry Dischler — Google VP-GM who oversees the company’s ad business — during Google’s antitrust trial told the U.S. Justice Department that for some queries, the company may have increased prices as much as 10%.

Microsoft-Activision Antitrust Win Raises M&A Revival Hopes

Microsoft Corp.’s success fighting the Federal Trade Commission’s challenge to its $69 billion Activision Blizzard Inc. acquisition could ease the path to more deals at a time when Wall Street has been confronting a severe merger drought. Stiffer enforcement by the FTC and Justice Department under the Biden administration has deterred a number of deals in recent years, but those regulators’ losing record in the courtroom will likely weaken that effect, experts say.

Biden Administration Unveils Tougher Guidelines On Mergers

The proposed road map for regulatory reviews, last updated in 2020, includes a focus on tech platforms for the first time. Pictured: Jonathan Kanter, who leads the Justice Department’s antitrust division, and Lina Khan, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, at a Senate hearing last September. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa, via Associated Press)

Justice Department Opens Criminal Hacking Probe Into Leaked Tucker Carlson Videos

The Department of Justice has opened a criminal hacking probe into how behind-the-scenes footage of fired Fox News host Tucker Carlson was leaked to media organizations in recent months, according to a letter the federal agency sent the cable network that said that Justice “presently views Fox Corp. as one of the potential victim-witnesses of the alleged criminal conduct under investigation.”

Washington Prepares For War With Amazon

A multi-pronged investigation of the online giant is approaching the action phase — on mergers, antitrust, privacy and more.

Justice Dept. Investigating TikTok’s Owner Over Possible Spying On Journalists

The inquiry appears to be tied to an admission by the app’s owner, ByteDance, that employees had inappropriately obtained Americans’ data. The company said it had fired the workers involved.

DOJ Will Hire More Data Experts To Scrutinize Digital Monopolies, Antitrust Chief Says

The Justice Department will expand its stable of data experts charged with analyzing how businesses use and abuse consumer data to violate U.S. antitrust law, the agency’s antitrust chief told CNN in an onstage interview Monday. DOJ’s antitrust division plans to post additional job listings for data scientists and analysts, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter said at a Washington conference.

Former ABC News Producer Arrested On Child Pornography Charge

Justice Department Should Urge SCOTUS To Review Social Media Laws, Group Says

The Department of Justice should urge the Supreme Court to rule on the validity of laws in Florida and Texas that prohibit social media platforms from suppressing some posts by users, the tech-industry backed policy group Chamber of Commerce says.

U.S. Charges Three In Iran-Backed Effort To Assassinate Journalist

Justice Department’s Google Suit Could Aid Broadcasters In Big Tech Battle

The Justice Department is apparently giving broadcasters some help with one of their top Washington priorities — Big Tech’s dominance as an ad platform. As expected, the DOJ on Jan. 24 said it was filing an antitrust suit against one of the biggest of Big Tech — Google parent Alphabet — over its online ad practices, a move that could lead to Google divesting its ad business and aid TV stations in what the NAB Broadcasters has called Big Tech’s “stranglehold” on digital advertising and ad rates.

Justice Dept. Sues Google Over Digital Advertising Dominance

The government alleges that Google’s plan to assert dominance has been to “neutralize or eliminate” rivals through acquisitions and to force advertisers to use its products by making it difficult to use competitors’ products.

Supreme Court Seeks Biden Admin Input On Texas And Florida Social Media Laws

The U.S. Supreme Court wants the Biden administration to weigh in on the Texas and Florida social media laws before justices decide whether to take up cases involving Big Tech industry lawsuits against the two states.

Garland Formally Bars Justice Dept. From Seizing Reporters’ Records

The Justice Department on Wednesday formally banned the use of subpoenas, warrants or court orders to seize reporters’ communications records or demand their notes or testimony in an effort to uncover confidential sources in leak investigations, in what amounts to a major policy shift. The rule codifies and expands a policy the attorney general issued in 2021, after it came to light that the Trump administration had secretly gone after records of reporters for The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN.

TikTok Seen Moving Toward U.S. Security Deal, But Hurdles Remain

A draft agreement with the Biden administration to keep the Chinese-owned video app operating in the United States is under review. That could mean more wrangling.

Judge Appears Willing To Unveil Some Of Mar-a-Lago Affidavit

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart said that under the law, it is the government’s burden to show why a redacted version should not be released and prosecutors’ arguments Thursday failed to persuade him. He gave them a week to submit a copy of the affidavit proposing the information it wants to keep secret after the FBI seized classified and top secret information during a search at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last week.

DOJ Plans To Sue Google Over Ad Market As Soon As September

The U.S. Justice Department is preparing to sue Google as soon as next month, according to people familiar with the matter, capping years of work to build a case that the Alphabet Inc. unit illegally dominates the digital advertising market. Lawyers with the DOJ’s antitrust division are questioning publishers in another round of interviews to refresh facts and glean additional details for the complaint, said three people familiar with the conversations.

Meta Agrees To Alter Ad-Targeting Tech In Settlement With U.S.

HUD had accused Meta of engaging in housing discrimination by letting advertisers restrict who could see housing ads on Facebook based on characteristics like race, religion and national origin.

Justice Department Backs Antitrust Bill Targeting Large Tech Platforms

The Justice Department is backing an antitrust bill that would prohibit the largest tech companies from favoring their own products or services. “The Department views the rise of dominant platforms as presenting a threat to open markets and competition, with risks for consumers, businesses, innovation, resiliency, global competitiveness, and our democracy,” Peter Hyun, an acting assistant attorney general, said Monday in a letter to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

FTC, Justice Seek Input On Media, Tech Mergers

The Biden administration is looking beyond antitrust theories for input on the “first-hand impacts” of media and tech mergers to help guide its planned rethink of merger enforcement. The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission, which together divvy up antitrust reviews, will co-host “listening forums,” seeking input beyond antitrust experts to consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and others

RTDNA Seeks Your Help As DOJ Investigates Police Departments For Interfering With Journalists

FTC, DOJ Launch Joint Inquiry Aimed At Blocking Illegal Mergers

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s antitrust division on Tuesday launched a new inquiry aimed at updating guidelines to block illegal mergers. The agencies are seeking public input to update guidelines over the next 60 days.

DOJ: Neo-Nazi Sentenced For Plotting Against Journalists

Senate Confirms Kanter To Head DOJ Antitrust Division

The bipartisan vote Tuesday was 68-29 to confirm Jonathan Kanter, an antitrust lawyer who has opposed tech giants in private practice, as assistant attorney general heading the Justice Department’s antitrust division. The position has been without a permanent head for nearly a year as Biden and his advisers sifted through a number of qualified candidates and then nominated Kanter in July to face Senate vetting.

Ozy Media Faces Federal Investigations

The Justice Department and the SEC have contacted companies that discussed investing in the Silicon Valley media business.

Justice Dept. Conducting Cyber Crackdown

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco says that the public should expect to see more arrests and law enforcement action as the Justice Department deals with the threat of ransomware.

A Star Corporate Lawyer Now Set To Take On Corporate America

How Jonathan Kanter, the Biden administration’s choice to be the Justice Department’s antitrust chief, became a progressive foe of Big Tech.

DOJ Official Signals Firm Stance Against ‘Killer Acquisitions’

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, who oversees the agency’s antitrust division, said the Justice Department will not shy away from enforcing antitrust laws against so-called killer acquisitions, where dominant firms buy start-ups before they can become competitive threats. Acquisitions of nascent competitors, she said, “are one category of particularly concerning transactions because they undermine competition that can disrupt monopolies.”

Justice Releases More Details On Secret Seizures Of Journalists’ Records

The Biden Justice Department on Wednesday released a more detailed accounting of recently revealed federal law enforcement efforts to secretly obtain journalists’ phone records, attempting to honor a public commitment to transparency and disclosing for the first time that Attorney General Merrick Garland personally approved keeping one case under wraps.

Justice Dept. Said To Accelerate Google Ad Inquiry

The moves may result in a second antitrust lawsuit against Google before the end of the year.

Biden’s Antitrust Team Signals A Big Swing At Corporate Titans

The president has stacked his administration with crusaders who have spent their careers challenging corporate consolidation.

Biden To Appoint Big Tech Critic To DOJ Antitrust Role

President Biden plans to appoint lawyer Jonathan Kanter as the head of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust division, the White House announced Tuesday, another sign of the administration’s intention to take on Big Tech.  Kanter has been a favorite pick of progressive organizations pushing for the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission to do more to crack down on anticompetitive conduct, especially in the tech industry.

DOJ Sets New Rules Limiting Seizure Of Journalists’ Phone And Email Records

The Justice Department formally announced new rules designed to greatly limit prosecutors’ ability to obtain phone and email records of journalists. The rules, unveiled Monday by Attorney General Merrick Garland, came after the revelation that the DOJ subpoenaed information from reporters for CNN, Washington Post and The New York Times, part of an effort that started during Donald Trump’s administration and largely played out without the journalists’ knowledge. The journalists were not targets of an investigation but were believed to be part of an effort to probe the source of leaks to the news media.

Attempt To Seize Post Reporters’ Email Data Came Day Before Barr Left Office

Newly unsealed court files shed more light on a contentious leak investigation.

CNN’s Starr An Unlikely Target In DOJ Probe

Regular CNN viewers know Barbara Starr as the network’s veteran Pentagon reporter, a straight-shooting correspondent who delivers periodic news reports on topics like NATO, counterterrorism efforts, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So it was striking when Starr was revealed last month as one of the journalists whose email and phone records were secretly seized by the Justice Department amid a Trump administration push to discover who was providing classified information to journalists.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Garland Confronts Long-Building Crisis Over Leak Inquiries And Journalism

Government leak hunters have been ratcheting up pressure on the ability of journalists to do their jobs for a generation — a push fueled by changing technology and fraught national-security issues that arose after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Now, those tensions have reached an inflection point.

CNN Lawyers Gagged In Fight With Justice Dept. Over Reporter’s Email Data

The disclosure of the aggressive leak investigation tactic followed a similar revelation involving The New York Times.

WaPo Publisher Slams ‘Unprecedented Assault’ On Media By Biden DOJ

DOJ Ends Pursuit Of Media Sources

The Justice Department on Saturday announced that it will no longer use subpoenas or other legal methods to obtain information from journalists about their sources — a major policy shift that came just a day after the New York Times revealed that the department had prohibited the newspaper’s lawyers and executives from disclosing an effort to seize email records of four reporters.