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Thread: Google's European Misfortunes

  1. #1
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Google's European Misfortunes

    The European Commissioner Margrethe Verstager has issued objections about Google's alleged abuse of its market position:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/4/16/8433153...ogle-antitrust

    The European Union's competition commissioner filed a "statement of objections" on Wednesday that brings Google a step closer to facing legal sanctions under European law. The European Commission's specific allegation is a relatively narrow one — that the search giant has broken the law by giving Google Shopping a more favorable position in search results than other comparison shopping services — but the underlying policy issue is much broader. Following the logic of the EU complaint would require a massive transformation of Google's search product.

    The key point is that Google doesn't just give prime real estate to Google Shopping results. It unapologetically does it for products like Google Images, Google Maps, and Google News — all of which regularly show up in special boxes near the top of Google search results.
    The Obama administration have claimed this simply a blatant act of protectionism. While that is a possible motivation for the European Commission that shouldn't be ruled out (the EC is seldom pristinely idealistic), there is a real risk of missing the point that the dominant outlook on what capitalism means simply diverges here (most European parties identify as capitalist). Both actors have mixed economies, but the United States are a tad more laissez-faire like in their approach to monopolies and oligopolies compared to the EU.
    Last edited by Villerar; April 20th, 2015 at 03:40 AM.

  2. #2
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Google's European Misfortunes

    Regarding the right to be forgotten, the New Yorker has a very even-handed article:

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...olace-oblivion

    On October 31, 2006, an eighteen-year-old woman named Nikki Catsouras slammed her father’s sports car into the side of a concrete toll booth in Orange County, California. Catsouras was decapitated in the accident. The California Highway Patrol, following standard protocol, secured the scene and took photographs. The manner of death was so horrific that the local coroner did not allow Nikki’s parents to identify her body.

    “About two weeks after the accident, I got a call from my brother-in-law,” Christos Catsouras, Nikki’s father, told me. “He said he had heard from a neighbor that the photos from the crash were circulating on the Internet. We asked the C.H.P., and they said they would look into it.” In short order, two employees admitted that they had shared the photographs. As summarized in a later court filing, the employees had “e-mailed nine gruesome death images to their friends and family members on Halloween—for pure shock value. Once received, the photographs were forwarded to others, and thus spread across the Internet like a malignant firestorm, popping up on thousands of Web sites.”
    Yes, I understand that intro doesn't give you high hopes if you oppose a right to be forgotten, but read on.

  3. #3
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Google's European Misfortunes

    In a case limited to the United Kingdom, Google has been ordered to remove links to new items under the right to be forgotten.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34015894

    Google has been ordered to remove nine links to news stories by the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) under the "right to be forgotten".

    Details of a "minor criminal offence" were referenced in the stories regarding an individual, the ICO said.

    Earlier links about the case had already been removed - but this act of removal itself later became news.

    It is the links to those new articles, when searched for via the individual's name, which must now be removed.

    In a statement, the ICO revealed that Google had refused to remove the links when asked by the complainant, which is why officials are now stepping in.
    It's unfortunate that the right is still mostly left to the judiciary to interpret. Now it's mostly confined to Google, but the debate should be extended to data collection by companies, digital security and autonomous privacy.

  4. #4
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Google's European Misfortunes

    The EC opens a law case against Google about Android with charges over competition-limiting practices.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...trust-vestager

    The EU has accused Google of skewing the market against competitors with its Android mobile operating system.

    Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition chief, said the European commission had taken the preliminary view that Google had abused its dominant position, following an initial one-year investigation.

    “What we found is that Google pursues an overall strategy on mobile devices to protect and expand its dominant position in internet search,” Vestager said.

    “The commission is concerned that Google’s behaviour has harmed consumers by restricting competition and innovation,” she added. “Rival search engines and mobile operating systems have not been able to compete on their merits. This is not good.”

    The company has 12 weeks to respond to the commission’s charge sheet, known as a statement of objections. The full investigation is likely to last many months. If Brussels upholds the complaint, Google could be fined up to $7.4bn (£5.8bn), the equivalent of 10% of its global revenue.

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