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Study Suggests Google Harms Consumers by Skewing Search Results

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Yelp-sponsored research examines Google’s practice of promoting its own search services

By TOM FAIRLESS
June 29, 2015 4:18 a.m. ET

BRUSSELS—New research by two U.S. academics suggests thatGoogle Inc. is harming Internet users and violating competition laws by skewing search results to favor its own services, a potentially significant twist in Europe’s long-running antitrust investigation of the U.S. search company.

The research combines statistical testing with detailed legal and economic analysis to examine the ramifications of Google’s practice of promoting its own specialized search services, such as for local restaurants or doctors, at the expense of rivals such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.

It was sponsored by Yelp, which has filed a complaint with European Union antitrust authorities over Google’s search practices. It was presented to EU regulators on Friday.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB11064341213388534269604581077241146083956

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Who will protect consumers from the CFPB

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Who will protect consumers from the CFPB
By Thomas Bezas

It is the most powerful agency you have never heard of, and it should be catapulted to the top of the growing list of federal agencies under scrutiny for abusing their authority. The behavior of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is not a rehash of the NSA or IRS scandals; it is bigger and it is time people took notice.

Cloistered in the Federal Reserve, this secretive agency has perhaps the broadest mandate of any government agency, yet the least amount of oversight.  It has the power to regulate virtually every financial product offered in the nation.  From mortgages to credit card transactions, the agency wields a power that can change the way every American banks, shops, obtains a loan, accesses education, and manages their personal finances.

It was created to presumably protect consumers from the unscrupulous practices of banks and other bad actors in the financial services industry.  Their charge is to investigate financial institutions and non-bank entities who offer financial products then promulgate regulations and create enforcement actions to address practices the CFPB deems unfair or fraudulent.

Driving the agency’s work is Director Richard Cordray and a core group of staffers from both President Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign teams. One senior advisory board member is even the former vice presidential nominee of the Socialist Party of the United States.  Many of these folks have a substantial political pedigree but little experience in financial services.

Developed purposefully by the Dodd-Frank legislation to be outside the purview of Congressional budget oversight, the CFPB need only answer “no comment” anytime Congress wants answers.  However, the American must people demand transparency from a regulatory agency with the ability to have an enormous impact on our economy and personal freedom.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/204008-whio-will-protect-consumers-frm-the-cfpb#ixzz2ziI4t3MZ