European Parliament approves proposal to break up Google – but it doesn’t mean much

google-europe

A European Parliament motion calling for the breakup of Google, separating out the search business from the company’s other activities, has been overwhelmingly approved, reports the WSJ.

In a vote in Strasbourg, 384 legislators voted in favor of the controversial initiative, with 174 against and 56 abstentions […]

“Clear adoption by the EP of Digital Single Market motion, including unbundling for search engine if needed,” tweeted Ramon Tremosa I Balcells, a lawmaker from Spain who backed the proposal.

The vote comes just a day after a separate European call for the controversial ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling to be extended to google.com as well as the European versions of its sites …  Read more

The EU reportedly wants Google to separate search from the rest of its business

google

Google’s ongoing battle with the European Union may have just taken a nasty turn. A new draft motion from the European Parliament is looking to separate the outfit’s search business from the rest of its operations. This comes after years of accusations against the company claiming that it exercises adverse practices, showcasing its own products while burying its competition.

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‘Right to be forgotten’ by Google may extend beyond Europe following court ruling

google

Europe’s controversial ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling, giving individuals the right to have sensitive information about them removed from search engines if it is deemed to be ‘out-dated or irrelevant,’ could extend beyond Europe following a recent court ruling.

Google has so far been removing links only from its European sites, for example google.fr in France and google.co.uk in the UK. However, a French court has now ruled that Google is required to remove links globally, and that local subsidiaries can be fined if the company fails to do so, reports the Guardian …  Read more

Yelp, TripAdvisor, others team up against Google in new “Focus on the User” campaign

focus on the user

Google has long been the subject of antitrust complains and investigations in Europe, but now, some of the company’s competitors are starting to take note of its actions and step forward with their own issues. Yelp, TripAdvisor, and several other companies on Monday teamed up to launch a new website, Focus on the User, on which they express concerns regarding Google’s tendency to promote its own services at the expensive of its rivals. Which in turn, the companies argue, make it harder for customers to find Google’s competitors in results.

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European Union tells Google combining user data across services without opt-out is illegal

privacy

Google has come under fire from European Union officials on a number of fronts already. It’s been accused of unfair search results, been criticized for the way it has implemented the controversial ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling and asked to stop describing apps which offer in-app purchases as ‘free.’

Reuters now reports that the EU believes Google is breaking the law in combining user data across unrelated services like Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps without offering users an opt-out, and the way in which it has consolidated 60 separate privacy policies into one …  Read more

Google opens registration for ‘Right to be Forgotten’ public meetings in Madrid and Rome

googlel right to be forgotten

Just under a month ago Google shared a list of cities where it would host public meetings for the Advisory Council to Google on the Right to be Forgotten following the European Union Court of Justice decision in May that individuals have the right to request Google remove information from its search results. With the first of those public meetings scheduled for September 9th in Madrid, Google is today starting free online registration to attend the meeting.

A limited number of seats will be available for members of the public at each Council meeting. We’re opening up the online registration process today — and you can sign up for the Madrid meeting and the Rome meeting. Registration will remain open until five days before the event. There is no charge to attend.

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Google hosting Advisory Council on Right to be Forgotten across Europe including Rome, Paris, & London

Europe Antitrust Google

Much discussion on Internet policy has been prompted since the European Union Court of Justice ruled in May of this year that it is an individual’s right to request Google remove sensitive information from search results. Since the ruling on the Right to be Forgotten, as it is often called, Google has established a web page dedicated to taking such requests and begun removing data from its search results as requested although that hasn’t been without further complaints from EU regulators.

For its part, Google has shared its criteria for information removal and announced an the establishment of an advisory panel of experts for fielding concerns throughout this fall over the policy and its implementation. Today the search giant has shared the dates and cities of when that advisory panel will host in-person public discussion on the right to be forgotten. Check below for the specifics: Read more

British government committee says EU’s “right to be forgotten” ruling is unreasonable and impossible

forgotten

And so the saga continues … In the short time since the EU ruled that individuals have the right to be forgotten when sensitive information found in search results is considered “outdated or irrelevant,” we’ve seen what is probably best described as the makings of a damn good sitcom. (Note to networks: if you make it, I want my ten percent.)

We first had the amusement of deleted links being reported by the media, bringing the stories back into the limelight. We then had Google describing the impossible position in which it has been placed, being asked to make “difficult and debatable judgements” based on “very vague and subjective tests.”

This was followed by the EU rapping Google’s knuckles for doing it wrong, and we now have a bipartisan British governmental committee disagreeing with the EU and agreeing with Google that it is being asked to “enforce the impossible” …  Read more

‘Right to be forgotten’ mess gets messier as European regulators complain about Google’s approach

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The mess and uncertainty created by an European court ruling that individuals have a ‘right to be forgotten‘ by search-engines when sensitive information is deemed to be “outdated or irrelevant” just got worse. Regulators are meeting with Google today to express concerns about the way in which Google has chosen to implement the ruling, reports Business Insider.

Under particular scrutiny is Google’s decision to only remove results from its European search engines, such as google.co.uk, meaning anyone can easily access the hidden information by switching to the widely used google.com […]

Another issue likely to be raised by the EU watchdogs is Google’s decision to notify the owners of the websites that have been removed from search results …

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Google to stop calling games with in-app purchases free after pressure from EU

Google Personal Search

Following pressure from the European Commission, Google has announced that it is making changes to how it brands and advertises apps with in-app purchases on the Play Store. This comes after the EU accusing Apple of taking too long to change its in-app purchase policy.

Google says that it will no longer use the word “free” when advertising games that support in-app purchases. It will also work to come up with guidelines for games and developers to prevent them from encouraging children to buy items using in-app purchases. Finally,  Google will also implement measures to monitor for breaches of European Union Law. Google plans to implement all of these changes starting at the end of September.

Meanwhile, the EU criticized Apple and said that it has “regrettably” not provided any changes or a timetable for changes to change their “misleading” in-app purchase measures.

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Google reveals ‘Right to be forgotten’ criteria and announces advisory panel

Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond has revealed in a Guardian comment piece some of the criteria the company is using to decide whether or not to act on ‘right to be forgotten‘ requests, and says that it is creating an independent advisory council to assist it in making these decisions.

[The criteria] include whether the information relates to a politician, celebrity or other public figure; if the material comes from a reputable news source, and how recent it is; whether it involves political speech; questions of professional conduct that might be relevant to consumers; the involvement of criminal convictions that are not yet “spent”; and if the information is being published by a government …

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First search results removed as Google acts on ‘Right to be forgotten’ requests

wsj

The WSJ is reporting that Google has begun removing search results following a European court decision that individuals have a right to require Google to remove links to information which is “outdated or irrelevant.”

Following the ruling – known as the ‘right to be forgotten’ – Google created a webpage application and announced that each would be evaluated by hand on a case-by-case basis, balancing the right to privacy against legitimate public interest. The company now says that it has begun acting on these requests …  Read more