Google under investigation in the United States

Photo: Robert Galbraith Agence France-Presse
The american giant is suspected of abusing the personal data of users and to use its dominant position to manipulate search results to its advantage.

After the fine european record imposed on Google for abuse of dominant position, the group is the subject of prosecution in the United States, where criticism of the tech giants also broke into the political debate.

 

The attorney general of Missouri, Josh Hawley, has launched an investigation against the american giant, that he suspected of abusing the personal data of users and to use its dominant position to manipulate search results to its advantage, the charges are broadly similar to those of the european Commission. She had inflicted this was a fine of € 2.4 billion for having abused its dominant position to promote its price comparison site. The group has lodged an appeal. The Commission on fire two other folders where it could also punish : on Android, its operating system for smartphones, and AdSense, its advertising network.

 

General Offensive in Europe

 

Data Protection, tax optimization, dominant position : the Commission launched a general offensive against the tech giants, led by the commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, who also has Apple or Amazon in its viewfinder. The european decision of June is definitely a turning point, according to Scott Cleland, a consultant and author of Search and Destroy. Why we can’t trust Google (Search and destruction. Why we can not trust Google).

 

“The biggest change in the United States has intervened when the fine [european] was announced,” insists Mr. Cleland, who notes that while ” person to the government, to the White House or the Congress has not made any public defense of Google “. “The silence was deafening. “

 

In fact, president Donald Trump, has never hidden his hostility towards the giants of Silicon Valley. What’s more, Google, but also Facebook or Twitter are under the fire of criticism from many legislators — democrats as republicans — who feel that they have served as a platform for the misinformation came from Russia during the presidential campaign of 2016.

 

“Not only is Google going to face for years in the surveys of the european Commission […], but this could serve as a basis for other competition regulators elsewhere in the world,” said Mark Blafkin, the cabinet-council communication Vrge Strategies. He also believes that the fine european is a ” first breach significant “.

 

The prosecutor in Missouri has quoted the fine european to support his argument. “When a company has access to as much information on consumers as Google, it is my duty to make sure that she uses them appropriately,” said Josh Hawley, a republican who is aiming for a senate seat in 2018. In return, Google argued that it had ” strong measures of protection of private life “.

 

Other prosecutors of american States could join the movement against Google, writes Scott Cleland, who noted that the issue is largely bipartisan, bringing together democrats and republicans. Several States, such as Mississippi, Utah or Texas are already engaged in actions against the company, with various fortunes, he noted also.

 

“In the future, I would be very surprised that there is not a new formal complaint against Google from the actions of these prosecutors, that it emanates from the FTC [regulator u.s. commerce] or the department of Justice “, said Mr. Cleland, who reports, such as Mark Blafkin, that there have already been precedents. In 2012 and 2013, Google had signed agreements amicably, with finance, with the FTC and 38 us States to put an end to proceedings on different aspects of its business.

 

If voices are raised to ask the FTC to reopen its investigation, however, this is far from being achieved. Pointing out ” the obvious benefits for the consumer of technological innovation “, the FTC has declared recently hostile to the idea of using antitrust legislation against the giants in the sector.

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