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Assange Details Google’s Collaboration With US Government, EU Parliament Votes To Break-up Google

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt

Search monopoly Google is facing new scrutiny as Wikileaks Editor-In-Chief Julian Assange has accused the company of essentially being a tool for the US government. In his new book Assange reportedly claims that, contrary to public proclamations of a commitment to privacy, Google gives the FBI and CIA open access to Google users’ information with no opposition whatsoever. Assange also recounts a meeting with Google executives where most of the participants ended up being US State Department officials.

While accusations that Google does not respect user privacy rights and happily collaborates with the government are nothing new, one new development could pose a serious problem. The European Parliament recently voted in favor of breaking Google up due to concerns about anti-competitive practices. Google has approximately 90% of the search market in Europe and rival companies have complained that Google has tried to illegally crush their competitors to gain and maintain its market share.

Final authority in breaking up Google lies not with the EU Parliament but with EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. Vestager now will decide the case against Google which started in 2010 before she was commissioner.

[R]ivals asked the commission to investigate four areas:

  • The manner in which Google displays its own vertical search services compared with other, competing products
  • How Google copies content from other websites – such as restaurant reviews – to include within its own services
  • The exclusivity Google has to sell advertising around the search terms people use
  • Restrictions on advertisers from moving their online ad campaigns to rival search engines

If Vestager orders Google to break-up it will be a first for the Commission – fact that has led many to doubt that it will happen even with urging from parliament. The previous competition commissioner tried unsuccessfully to settle the case with Google and ultimately recommended a large fine for Google’s anti-competitive practices in Europe. In the US Google also has a dominant market share of search.

So what happened to don’t be evil? Instead of trying to foster a more ethical business culture Google has amplified the same old practices of monopoly power grabs and a disregard for customer’s privacy rights.The results speak for themselves. It seems being evil is a much better business model.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Assange Details Google’s Collaboration With US Government, EU Parliament Votes To Break-up Google

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt

Search monopoly Google is facing new scrutiny as Wikileaks Editor-In-Chief Julian Assange has accused the company of essentially being a tool for the US government. In his new book Assange reportedly claims that, contrary to public proclamations of a commitment to privacy, Google gives the FBI and CIA open access to Google users’ information with no opposition whatsoever. Assange also recounts a meeting with Google executives where most of the participants ended up being US State Department officials.

While accusations that Google does not respect user privacy rights and happily collaborates with the government are nothing new, one new development could pose a serious problem. The European Parliament recently voted in favor of breaking Google up due to concerns about anti-competitive practices. Google has approximately 90% of the search market in Europe and rival companies have complained that Google has tried to illegally crush their competitors to gain and maintain its market share.

Final authority in breaking up Google lies not with the EU Parliament but with EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. Vestager now will decide the case against Google which started in 2010 before she was commissioner.

[R]ivals asked the commission to investigate four areas:

  • The manner in which Google displays its own vertical search services compared with other, competing products
  • How Google copies content from other websites – such as restaurant reviews – to include within its own services
  • The exclusivity Google has to sell advertising around the search terms people use
  • Restrictions on advertisers from moving their online ad campaigns to rival search engines

If Vestager orders Google to break-up it will be a first for the Commission – fact that has led many to doubt that it will happen even with urging from parliament. The previous competition commissioner tried unsuccessfully to settle the case with Google and ultimately recommended a large fine for Google’s anti-competitive practices in Europe. In the US Google also has a dominant market share of search.

So what happened to don’t be evil? Instead of trying to foster a more ethical business culture Google has amplified the same old practices of monopoly power grabs and a disregard for customer’s privacy rights.The results speak for themselves. It seems being evil is a much better business model.

Photo by Charles Haynes under Creative Commons license.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.