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Here's why Google is under such intense European regulatory scrutiny

Thursday, 31 July 2014 - 8:09am IST | Agency: Reuters
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Google Inc faces a variety of challenges from European Commission regulators, in contrast to its experience in the United States where the Internet search company has largely mitigated regulatory threats.

The following are some of the regulatory issues that Google is contending with in Europe:

* Android - EC regulators have stepped up inquiries into Google's policies regarding its Android mobile operating system, which is used in 80% of the world's mobile phones. Regulators appear to be focused on whether Google's mobile policies impede rivals.

* Search - An EC investigation that began in 2010 seeks to address complaints that Google manipulated its search results to rank its own services higher than competitors. A proposed settlement, under which Google has agreed to display rivals' links more prominently, among other things, is contested by critics who say it lets Google off too easily.

* Right to be Forgotten - Google has scrambled to process tens of thousands of requests by individuals who want search-result links to unflattering news articles removed, following a ruling by Europe's top court in May. Regulators criticised Google for restricting its implementation of the ruling to European sites rather than to the broader Google.com website.

* User data - Italy's data protection regulator gave Google 18 months to change the way it treats and stores user data, a response to Google's controversial move to combine data collected on individual users of its various online services and to consolidate its 60 privacy policies.

* Taxes - Britain, France and Germany have called for stricter rules to stop companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon aggressively avoiding taxes in austerity-bitten Europe. Google has said it complies with the tax rules of all the countries in which it operates.

(Compiled by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Grant McCool)




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