By: Philip | 03-23-2022 | Science, Studio
Photo credit: Dreamstime

DOJ Calls Out Google for Abusing Attorney-Client Privilege

We have been covering the anti-trust cases against Google and Apple intermittently over the last couple years. Today Silicon Valley is the domain of the new era robber barons. Whether it's Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Thiel and Musk's compadre and founder of the digital media empire from which The Intercept springs or whatever company heads and luminaries in that world, they are swiftly acting to indelibly change (disrupt) life as we know it... for their own benefit.

Some odd things have come out in relationship with the case. One thing that caught my eye the last time I was covering this case was how Google was sidling up with Apple. Adam Smith once said:

“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

I'll be honest, I don't think very much has changed in the interim.

Google is apparently even schooling their employees on ways they can shield their business realted communications from the judicial discovery process via "using false requests for legal advice." Bear in mind, this is the same Google who has invested over 7 figures in research on such topics as "why Google isn't a monopoly." The power that Google and comparable tech companies have can not be overstated.

DOJ as a result is asking the jduge in the case to sanction Google "for its extensive and intentional efforts to misuse the attorney-client privilege to hide business documents relevant" to the case at hand. Google even has a cutesie little anme for it. "Communicate with Care" it's called. Basically the equivalent of the paper shredder in Rose Law Firm back in Arkansas decades back.

Google was already accused of an unfair monopoly on search and search-related advertising industry in the 2020 antitrust lawsuit. Android's proprietary connection to Google services was also brought up. As a result, many commmunications would have appended "adding legal" or "adding [attorney] for legal advice" in their communications so they could be considered privileged and confidential in order to hide them from the purview of the investigation.

In addition to sanctions, DOJ demands "all withheld or redacted emails where no attorney responded to the purported request for legal advice."

Julie Tarallo McAlister, Google spokesperson, stands by the actions of Alphabet and its subsidiary Google saying the allegations are "flatly wrong." She goes on:

"Our teams have conscientiously worked for years to respond to inquiries and litigation, and suggestions to the contrary are flatly wrong. Just like other American companies, we educate our employees about legal privilege and when to seek legal advice. And we have produced over four million documents to the DOJ in this case alone — including many that employees had considered potentially privileged."

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