Newscast Media FRANKFURT—German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel has warned US
Internet giant Google could eventually achieve such a strong market position that a
breakup of the company could become an option to consider. Google was not
While failing to explain how exactly to enforce a breakup of a US-based company,
Sigmar Gabriel said Friday such a move could be a last resort for countries seeking to
prevent Google from “systematically crowding out competitors.”
The German Economy Minister made those remarks in an op-ed published by the
German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) newspaper, painting an alarming picture
of the threat posed to society by Internet companies.
“It’s about nothing less than the future of democracy in the digital age and therefore
also about the self-determination of 500 million people in Europe,” Gabriel commented.
The Economics Ministry said Friday it was examining various aspects of Google’s
business, including the level of the firm’s compliance with privacy rules.
A day earlier, some 400 companies, including major German and French publishers,
announced they were about to submit new anti-trust complaints against Google.
The US firm has faced massive criticism over its dominant position in Europe where no
serious rivals have emerged to challenge its search business. Gabriel’s comments
reflect a new sense of urgency among European governments and businesses, fearing
the continent’s own Internet industry may be smothered by American rivals.
Google itself dismissed that criticism, saying it was surprised “by the opinion of
German Economy Minister that companies like Google would harm users, economy and
“We have been and are always open for conversations about how to make the most
of digitization both for the economy and consumers,” the company said in a
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media MADRID, Spain—The European Court of Justice has ruled that
citizens have a right to request that Google delete their data from search results in a
case that sought to see whether private citizens could leave the engine’s grid.
In the case, which began in 2011, Spain’s data protection authority had ordered
Google to remove links to more than 100 online articles the agency considered
potentially defamatory in a move that had stoked concerns about freedom of speech
and the role of online search engines. On Tuesday, the ECJ affirmed the Spanish
Google had previously challenged the decision in a Madrid court, contending that as a
search engine it was not responsible for content that appeared on the Web. The
Spanish tribunal then sought the advice of the ECJ. Decisions by the court are
binding for the whole of the European Union.
In 2012, the European Commission had proposed that citizens be given the right to
remove themselves from search engines.
Google is also involved in a dispute with the European Union over alleged
anti-competitive practices in its search results.
Source: Radio Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media AUSTIN, Texas—Search engine giant Google has reached a settlement with U.S. authorities in which the company has agreed to pay a $7 million fine, for harvesting private personal Wi-Fi data of people, using its Google Street View service. The data was mined without the consent or knowledge of homeowners or businesses. Google agreed to pay the fine on condition that it would not have to admit any wrongdoing in collecting the data.
In a legal settlement with 38 states, the Internet giant agreed to destroy emails, passwords, and web histories it harvested from home wireless networks as Street View cars photographed neighborhoods between 2008 and 2010.
“This settlement addresses privacy issues and protects the rights of people whose information was collected without their permission,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
“Consumers have a right to protect their vital personal and financial information from improper and unwanted use by corporations like Google.”
Texas was one of the states that sued Google for violation of Texans’ privacy, since the company was in direct violation of Texas Deceptive Trade Practices—Consumer Protection Act, Texas Business and Commerce Code §§ 17.41, et seq.