Scott Cleland - President, Precursor LLC -- Proven Thought Leadership, Chairman, NetCompetition

Scott Cleland

President, Precursor® LLC -- Proven Thought Leadership
Chairman, NetCompetition®

Bio Summary

Scott Cleland is an influential precursor and proven thought leader. Cleland has a track record of anticipating emergent cyber systemic risks first and then spearheading thinking about them before others. He is an original thinker and a champion of free market competition, rule of law, property rights, privacy, cyber-security, and modernizing obsolete technology laws.

Cleland is President of Precursor® LLC, an emergent enterprise risk consultancy serving Fortune 500 clients. Cleland authors the widely-read PrecursorBlog, chairs NetCompetition® a pro-competition e-forum, and publishes the watchdog site Google Monitor. Cleland served as Deputy United States Coordinator for Communications and Information Policy in the George H. W. Bush Administration.

Eight different Congressional subcommittees have sought Cleland's expert testimony and Institutional Investor twice ranked him the #1 independent analyst in his field. Scott Cleland has been profiled in Fortune, National Journal, Barrons, WSJ's Smart Money, and Investors Business Daily; and ten publications have featured his op-eds.

Further Background

As President of Precursor® LLC since 2006, Cleland has served Fortune 500 clients as a cyber systemic risk consultant on Internet competition issues helping anticipate, analyze and alleviate emergent risks to their enterprises. Precursor® LLC offers Forthright ForesightTM.

Since 2006, Cleland has served as Chairman of NetCompetition® an e-forum promoting Internet competition choices for consumers, which is supported by broadband interests. Cleland is a front-line champion and leading public voice for market-based broadband competition over government-managed competition. He also has spearheaded new thinking underlying efforts to modernize: communications law, federal spectrum management, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In addition, Cleland is a world-leading research authority on Google and author of the only critical treatise/book on Google: Search & Destroy: Why You Can't Trust Google Inc., which has been translated into Portuguese and Korean. Since 2011, he has published, a watchdog site dedicated to making Google more transparent and accountable.

Scott Cleland was the first analyst to foresee that Google's acquisition of DoubleClick would tip Google to a global monopoly and that its unprecedented market power -- in combination with its un-ethical business practices and aversion to accountability -- would lead to serious ongoing antitrust, privacy, property, cybersecurity and law enforcement problems.

Scott Cleland is the only Google expert to have testified three times before U.S. Congressional Subcommittees on Google. Government's on four continents have sought out or used Precursor's Google research. The New York Times described Cleland in a front page story on Google as "a consultant for Google competitors and a consumer watchdog whose blog maintains a close watch on Google's privacy issues."

Previously, Scott Cleland served institutional investors as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Precursor Group Inc. Cleland founded and co-built the Precursor Group Broker Dealer from scratch to the #1 Institutional Investor-recognized independent research firm in communications in four years. The firm served most of the top investment institutions in the U.S., including 39 of the top 50. At that time and in that role, Cleland was well-known as one of the most-widely quoted and interviewed analysts in the United States. Overall Cleland has thirteen years experience in the institutional investment business including working for Legg Mason and the Schwab Washington Research Group.

As the Precursor Group's lead communications investment analyst, Cleland was known for making two seminal communications investment calls. Cleland's research was first to spotlight that the Internet dotcom bubble would burst because the market incorrectly assumed that Internet traffic was growing ~12 times faster than it actually was. And Fortune profiled Cleland as "ahead of the pack in raising questions about WorldCom's debt, profitability, and survival" before WorldCom went bankrupt.

Public Service

Scott Cleland served as a member of the United States Department of State Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy for several terms. In 2002, Cleland conceived and was the Founding Chairman of the Investorside Research Association, the first and only association of independent research firms. Also in 2002, Institutional Investor Magazine called Cleland "the de facto spokesperson for the independent research community." Cleland was the lead source and primary analyst for Hedrick Smith's Emmy Award winning PBS Frontline Special, "The Wall Street Fix." Immediately following the surprise announcement of Enron's bankruptcy, Cleland was the first analyst asked to testify before Congress to explain how its then near record corporate fraud could happen.

Cleland has testified before Congress sixteen times before eight different subcommittees on a variety of forward-looking public policy issues.

Scott Cleland's career as a public servant concluded in 1992 as the Deputy United States Coordinator for Communication and Information Policy at the U.S. Department of State, serving President H. W. Bush. Previously, Cleland served as a Senior Policy Advisor to the then Secretary of State James A. Baker III. He received the Superior Honor Award for his role as the lead congressional briefer to Secretary Baker on all foreign policy matters during the first Gulf War and the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. Prior to that, he served as Director of Legislative Affairs for the U.S. Department of Treasury and as a Budget Examiner for OMB in the U.S. Executive Office of the President.


Scott Cleland earned a Masters of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin in 1984 and a BA in Political Science from Kalamazoo College in 1982. In 2000, Cleland earned Kalamazoo College's Distinguished Achievement Award.

Book: Search & Destroy
Why You Can't Trust Google Inc.

Book: Search & Destroy - Why You Can't Trust Google Inc.

This is the other side of the Google story—the unauthorized book that Google does not want you to read. In Search & Destroy, Google expert Scott Cleland, shows that the world's most powerful company is not who it pretends to be.

Google pretends to be a harmless lamb, but chose a full-size model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex as its mascot. Beware the T-Rex in sheep's clothing.

Google has acquired far more information, both public and private, and has invented more ways to use it, than anyone in history. Information is power, and in Google's case, it's the power to influence and control virtually everything the Internet touches.

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Selected Media

  • The Verge, Internet providers prepare for war with FCC over expansion of net neutrality, 2-5-15
  • San Jose Mercury News, Google to enter the wireless business, 1-22-15
  • CNBC/Nightly Business Report, President Obama urges FCC reclassification of broadband Internet as a utility, 11-10-14
  • The Blaze, Glenn Beck talks to Author Scott Cleland on Google & his book "Search & Destroy" [1-13-14]
  • CBS Evening News, "Google Surveillance Far Surpasses the NSA," 6-11-13
  • The New York Times, "Google Concedes That Drive-by Prying Violated Privacy," " 3-13-13
  • The Diane Rehm Show, NPR,"FCC's Proposal for Nationwide Wireless Network," 2-5-13
  • The Diane Rehm Show, National Public Radio, "The Future of Landline Phones," 12-6-12
  • Managing IP Magazine, "Opinion: Google is waging war on IP law," 8-9-12
  • Fox News, "Breaking down Google Privacy Issue," Justice with Judge Jeanine, 7-10-12
  • Bloomberg West, Bloomberg TV, "EU May Rule Google Monopoly, Sanction Firm," 3-1-12
  • C-SPAN, "The Communicators: Scott Cleland on Google's Senate Antitrust Hearing," 9-23-11
  • Fox News, "Can You Trust Google?," Fox and Friends, 5-9-11
  •, "Scott Cleland's new book details why Google can't be trusted," 5-4-11
  • Investors Business Daily, "When Analysts Look Over Their Shoulders," Brian Deagon, 12-24-10
  • USAToday, "Google Takes Issue with Vocal Critics Gary Reback, Scott Cleland," 12-3-10
  • CNBC Street Signs, "Get Ready for Google TV," 8-18-10
  • CSPAN,"The Communicators: Scott Cleland & Markham Erickson on Net Neutrality," 12-4-09
  • Investors Business Daily; "Q&A Scott Cleland: Google Big Beneficiary of Lobbying" 9-12-08
  • Smart Money Magazine, "Side Effects" Eric Savitz, 8-06
  • PBS Frontline Special, "The Wall Street Fix," Produced by Hedrick Smith, 5-8-03
  • Fortune Magazine, "Calling WorldCom's Woes," Stephanie Mehta, 7-22-02
  • National Journal, "The Profits of Being Less Clueless," W. John Moore, 9-16-00

Selected Op-Eds

  • The Daily Caller, "America's Upside Down Cyber-Priorities," 8-17-15
  • The Daily Caller, "The FCC's Title II Trifecta Gamble," 7-13-15
  • The Daily Caller, "How America Protects National Champion Google in EU," 3-5-15
  • The Daily Caller, "Who Pays for Net Neutrality?" 12-3-14
  • The Daily Caller, "Online Video Competition's Tipping Point Just Tipped," 4-8-14
  • The Daily Caller, "The de-Americanization of the Internet," 11-19-13
  • The Daily Caller, "New U.S. spectrum policy has big problems," 6-19-13
  • The Daily Caller, "Obsolete Privacy Law," 1-22-13
  • The Hill, "Courts, not FTC, Should Decide on Google Practices," 12-10-12
  • Politico, LTE on Google Politicization of antitrust review, 10-16-12
  • The Daily Caller, "US Government's wasteful hoarding & rationing of spectrum" 9-7-12
  • The Daily Caller, "Why U.S. Communications Law is Obsolete," 6-25-12
  • The Wall Street Journal, LTE -- Google and Microsoft cases are Different, 4-29-12
  • Forbes CIO Network, "Seven Ways the World is Changing the Internet," 1-11-12
  • Forbes CIO Network, "Obsolete Television Law Needs Modernization" 1-4-12
  • The Huffington Post, "Big Brother Inc.," 5-23-11
  • The Seattle Times, "Wake Up to Google's Threat to Journalism" 2-6-09
  • The Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Googleopoly Darkens the Future of Innovation" 11-27-08
  • The Washington Times, "The Ultimate Internet Gatekeeper" 9-30-07
  • The Washington Times, "America's Unique Internet Success" 2-1-07
  • The Financial Times, "Follow the Money to Wall Street's Big Secret" 11-8-02

Congressional Testimony

  • House Judiciary Competition Subcommittee, 9-16-10, Hearing on "Competition in the Evolving Digital Marketplace," "The Evolving Competition Digital Dichotomy & Why Googleopoly is the Main Antitrust Event"
  • Joint House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee, 6-18-09, Joint Hearing on Behavioral Advertising, "Why A Consumer-Driven, Technology/Competition-Neutral, Privacy Framework Is Superior to a Default ‘Finders Keepers Losers Weepers' Privacy Framework"
  • House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Internet Hearing, 9-17-08, "The Blind Eye to Privacy Law Arbitrage by Google -- Broadly Threatens Respect for Privacy"
  • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee On Antitrust, 9-27-07, "Google-DoubleClick Merger and the Online Advertising Industry," "The Google-DoubleClick Anti-competitive Case"
  • Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, 10-19-05, "Video and Telecom Competition is Increasingly Vibrant and Here to Stay, Recommendations on Telecom Reform Legislation"
  • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, 4-19-05, "Telecom Mergers in a Techcom World: How Antitrust Must Adapt to the Techcom Future"
  • Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, 2-11-04, Oversight Hearing, "Cable Competition - Increasing Price; Increasing Value?"
  • Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, 6-18-03, Oversight Hearing, "NewsCorp/Hughes Proposed Merger"
  • House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, June 18, 2003, 6-16-03, "Mutual Funds Integrity and Fee Transparency Act of 2003"
  • House Financial Services Oversight Subcommittee, 3-21-02, "Global Crossing's Bankruptcy: A Window Into a Broken System of Protecting Investors"
  • Senate Commerce Committee, Panel on Consumer Affairs, 12-18-01, Hearing on Enron Bankruptcy, "Conflicts of Interest Are Eroding the Market's Integrity and Internal Controls"
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, 6-14-01, "Who's Looking Out for Investors?"
  • House Judiciary Committee, June 5, 2001, 6-5-01 Oversight Hearing, "House Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001"
  • House Judiciary Committee, 7-18-00, Legislative Hearing on H.R. 1686, the "Internet Freedom Act" and H.R. 1685, the "Internet Growth and Development Act of 1999"
  • House Judiciary Committee, 6-30-99, House Internet Freedom Act and Internet Growth, Development Act of 1999
  • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Business Rights and Competition, 5-19-98, Telephone Industry Consolidation