The Jan. 25 front-page article “Justice Dept. sues to rein in Google’s ad network” discussed how Google is being sued by the Justice Department over alleged monopolistic practices over its advertising platform, which earned Google $7.9 billion in the third quarter last year. Justice claims Google used its dominance in the ad business to either eliminate rivals or force them to use their advertising services, resulting in advertisers paying more to place ads and publishers earning less from ad revenue. They assert that harms the advertising market — including consumers, should publishers seek more profitable forms of revenue, such as subscriptions, for access to content.
However, in this lawsuit, the Justice Department seems to miss the underlying issue. Google’s disregard of privacy regulations is what allows its advertising monopoly to thrive in the first place. If Google were made to more closely follow the spirit of federal and state privacy laws, this would not only better protect user privacy, but also result in Google’s ad platform being less powerful, allowing for smaller advertising networks to thrive. The Justice Department should focus its efforts on privacy, not ads.
Shrey Ghodgaonkar, Fairfax