Google Fined For “Non-Cooperation” In Indian Antitrust Inquiry

computer-internet-legal-law-featured The Google antitrust drama keeps migrating east. First the US FTC settled its investigation of Google without any significant penalty or restrictions. More recently, the long European antitrust inquiry appears to be "essentially" over, with a settlement built on the presentation of "rival links." Google is also in the midst of an antitrust, anti-competition investigation in India. (There's also and ongoing antitrust investigation in Canada). Things are now heating up in the Indian case. Last week, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) decided to impose a fine on Google "not pr [...]


Court Tells Google It Must Admit Privacy Penalty On Google France Home Page

google-privacy-200 Following the imposition of a fine by the French National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL) for violating consumer privacy, Google was ordered to post a statement on its French homepage that its privacy policy did not comply with French law: The Sanctions Committee ordered Google Inc. to publish a communiqué on this decision on the website https://www.google.fr, during 48 hours, within eight days as of the notification of the decision. This publicity measure is justified by the extent of Google’s data collection, as well as by the necessity to inform the persons conce [...]


Google Tries To Block Shaming Privacy Notification In France

google-privacy-200 Last month, Google was fined for violating French privacy rules with its “unified” privacy policy. The French National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL) had given Google and ultimatum to “fix” its privacy policy or be fined. Generally speaking, CNIL objects to the lack of specific notice to consumers about how their data are being used. However, Google takes the position that it's in full compliance with European privacy standards. It therefore declined to change anything to satisfy French regulators. Making good on its threat, CNIL imposed the maximum avail [...]


The “Real Reason” Google Sold Motorola To Lenovo

Google Motorola In the wake of yesterday's Reuters story and later confirmation of the $2.91 billion sale of Google's Motorola hardware unit to Lenovo there were many theories presented about why the deal happened. Here is a summary of those theories and ideas: Google is simply "cutting its loses" and recovering what money it can on a generally bad deal (perhaps save the patents) Google wants the best for Motorola and Lenovo is a better home for the unit Google is "making peace" with Samsung, its most important Android partner, by no longer being a direct competitor Google is appeasing European regu [...]


Google Fails To Prevent UK Court From Hearing Privacy Suit

google-legal-law It's rare that courts rule they don't have jurisdiction to hear cases arising from events that happened on their own soil. Thus, predictably, Google has lost its bid to dismiss a UK-based civil complaint, arising out of the "Cookiegate" episode, on jurisdictional grounds. As you may recall, Cookiegate arose when Google was discovered surreptitiously circumventing the Safari browser’s privacy settings (on the iPhone and beyond) in early 2012. It ultimately resulted in regulatory investigations and fines. In the US, Google paid a $22.5 million fine to settle the case with the FTC. [...]


Google Brings Local Search To Digital Displays Across London

Google Outside Google has undertaken a novel marketing experiment in London. Called "Google Outside," and first reported by the website Campaign, Google and agency R/GA have deployed 160 digital displays at bus stops and underground stations across London. The electronic displays offer "local search" information on tourist attractions, businesses and entertainment. As far as we can tell from the available information users cannot directly interact with the displays but they will change based on weather conditions and other variables. Apparently Google Now technology is involved. The pictured image (cre [...]


Microsoft’s Ballmer: Google Is A “Monopoly”

google-legal-law Microsoft, the company stung a decade ago in the US by being branded a monopoly and then in Europe by having to pay and pay again for its past tactics, is arguing that regulators need to subject its foe Google to the same treatment. At a recent meeting of financial analysts Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer characterized Google as a search "monopoly," implying the company needed to be restrained by regulation. "They have this incredible, amazing, dare I say monopoly that we are the only person left on the planet trying to compete with," Ballmer is quoted saying. (Danny Sullivan offers an extensive [...]


South Korea Drops Antitrust Investigation Against Google

google-legal-law In early 2011, South Korean search and portal providers NHN Corp. and Daum Communications filed antitrust complaints with the South Korean equivalent of the US Fair Trade Commission against Google. Both companies claimed that Google had blocked them from putting their search apps on Android phones in South Korea. Today, it was reported (via NextWeb) that Google has been cleared in the investigation. NHN’s complaint originally alleged that “Google has banned South Korean phone manufacturers from including Web search applications made by other companies under its marketing contracts . [...]


Europe Calls For More Concessions From Google, Survey Says “Rival Links” Not Enough

google-eu-200px European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia held a news conference this morning during which he said Google will need to offer further concessions to avoid antitrust fines. According to the NY Times, Almunia said that Google needs to "improve" its current proposal: "I concluded that the proposals that Google sent to us months ago are not enough to overcome our concerns." Almunia has reportedly asked Google's Eric Schmidt "to present better proposals, or improved proposals.” As I've previously indicated, Almunia's position is strange, given my understanding that he was di [...]


UK’s ICO Watchdog Tells Google To Update Privacy Policy By September 20th Or Else

ico The NextWeb reports Google is on the hot seat again over its simplified privacy policy that went into effect March 1, 2012. The Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK has set a deadline of September 20, 2013 for Google to amend the policy to make it easier for consumers to understand how Google will use their data. The ICO's statement was released yesterday, and the ICO president said: We have today written to Google to confirm our findings relating to the update of the company’s privacy policy. In our letter we confirm that its updated privacy policy raises serious questions a [...]


Would Europe “Ban” Google Universal Search Results?

Google Europe legal As Google's critics and rivals in Europe become increasingly vocal and aggressive in their campaign against the company's proposed antitrust settlement, the European Commission (EC) has some egg on its face. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia negotiated the current settlement with Google over a period of months. The specific provisions, including the controversial "rival links" concept, were entirely known to him and colleagues when the proposal was released for "market testing" third-party reaction and comment. It was also entirely predictable that FairSearch.org and other anti [...]


Europe: Google Wins “Censorship” Battle, Slammed On Antitrust Proposals

Google Europe legal Google's struggles in Europe continue. However the company apparently has won something of a reprieve in its battle against the emerging "the right to be forgotten," which Google largely regards as censorship. But on the antitrust front, Google faces stepped up criticism of its settlement proposals from critics and opponents. On Monday, an advisory (non-binding) opinion from Niilo Jaeaeskinen of the EU Court of Justice found that Google cannot (or should not) be compelled to de-index material that was originally legally posted on third-party publisher sites. According to an article appe [...]


To Avoid Copyright Liability, Google News Goes Opt-In In Germany

google-legal-law Earlier this year, a new, more restrictive copyright law was passed in Germany that gave publishers near total control over the use of their content (there's no "fair use" doctrine in Germany). It was championed by large magazine publishers and newspapers that believed they were being "disintermediated" by search engines and others that were commercially exploiting their content. Google was a prime target of their complaints and the new law. German publishers had hoped to establish a licensing marketplace for their content. Indeed, when the law passed the European Publishers Council iss [...]


Google Given Privacy Ultimatum By French: Fix It Or Face Fines

google-privacy-200 The French have given Google what amounts to a privacy ultimatum. The company now has three months to make changes or "fixes" to its privacy policy that satisfy French and broader European data protection laws. The immediate consequences for failure to do so could be fines of several million euros according to Bloomberg. Many nations in Europe have lined up behind the French who are taking the lead in trying to get Google to offer more transparency to users about what data are being collected and how those data are being used. European privacy rules are much more stringent than those in the U [...]


Google, Facebook In Transparency Battle Over PRISM Disclosures

online privacy Last night, what might be called a "transparency battle" erupted between Google and Facebook following Facebook's disclosure of government-related user-data requests: For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000. These requests run the gamut – from things like a local sheriff trying to find a missing child, to a federal marshal tracking a fugitive, to a p [...]


Europeans Take New Look At Google’s Android Licensing Practices

google-europe-featured The Financial Times is reporting that Google is now "facing an investigation by European authorities into allegations that it supported the leading Android smartphone platform and its mobile services by means of cut-price licensing and exclusivity deals." There isn't a formal investigation on this question yet. Rather, the European Commission is submitting a questionnaire to device makers and mobile carriers for their input. Google's rivals are undoubtedly behind these complaints to keep pressure on the European Commission, which is on the cusp of settling its antitrust (search-related) in [...]


UK Government Report: Google’s Tax Position “Deeply Unconvincing”

google-legal-law The Guardian reported yesterday that a UK Parliamentary Committee found, essentially, Google had improperly avoided paying taxes in the UK by routing sales through Ireland where corporate tax rates are considerably lower. It's unclear precisely what the immediate legal fallout will be; however the UK report recommends a more formal inquiry. Committee chair MP Margaret Hodge said that Google had "brazenly" sought to avoid taxes in the UK by channeling sales through its Irish subsidiary. However, the UK report determined, based on its investigation and information from "whistleblowers," tha [...]


Europe Finds That Google’s Motorola Unit “Abused Its Dominant Position” In Patent Fight With Apple

Google Europe The European Commission has made a preliminary determination that Google's Motorola Mobility unit "abused its dominant position" under EU antitrust rules in seeking to obtain and enforce an injunction against Apple in Germany. At the center of the dispute is Motorola's claimed misuse of  "standards essential patents" in mobile patent litigation against Apple. Google's antitrust settlement with the FTC in the US requires the company not to use standards-essential patents to block rival mobile products. The European Commission says that's what Motorola was trying to do in this case. Howe [...]


Google’s $82 Million Private Airport Terminal Approved

Air Google APR reports Google has been approved in a 10 - 1 vote by the San Jose City Council to lease a private airport terminal for $82 million on the west side of Mineta San Jose International Airport. The agreement is with Signature Flight Services. The only person who voted no was Pierluigi Oliverio who said this would disturb citizens with more flights and is not the best way to raise money for the airport. This will not only make air travel much more convenient for Google, it will bring in $3 million a year in rent for the airport and more airport jobs. Not everyone is happy about thi [...]


Google Countersues British Telecom In US, UK For Patent Infringement

BT OneVoice Google (and Motorola Mobility) have counter-sued the UK's BT Group (British Telecom) for patent infringement in the US and UK. This follows a 2011 patent lawsuit filing by BT against Google. Google has probably asserted its patents in an effort to provide some negotiating leverage against BT in any future settlement discussions. The patents at issue concern IP telephony, data management, networking and mobile technology. BT claims that several of Google's services infringe its patents, including aspects of Android. By contrast Google says that BT has infringed its patents with the latter's [...]


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