EU to Google: How to dismantle European search engines in 13 steps

Mrs Vestager will have to finish her welcome coffee earlier than previewed and take action on the Google case promptly. The voices of the Parliament show that there is not time for further delay it seems. Margrethe Vestager is the new Commissioner designate for Competition at the European Commission (EP Audiovisual Services, 02/10/2014)

Mrs Vestager will have to finish her welcome coffee earlier than previewed and take action on the Google case promptly. The voices of the Parliament show that there is no time for further delay. Margrethe Vestager is the new Commissioner designated for Competition at the European Commission (EP Audiovisual Services, 02/10/2014)

It seems that the search engine thriller that we are watching with horror in the Old Continent goes on. Last week the Sting reported on how parliamentarians were planning to “break up with reality in the Google antitrust case”. This week we are counting the votes and the list of “guidelines” to Google and all other search engines that are doing business in Europe.

On Thanksgiving the European Parliament decided to show its teeth to the US giant, Google. With a vote of 384 to 174 and 56 abstentions our good politicians voted in favour of the resolution for “consumer rights in the digital market”. Although the document does not mention the word “Google”, it calls the European Commission to urgently “consider proposals aimed at unbundling search engines from other commercial services”. And this is nothing but the notorious proposed break-up that the Sting touched last week.

It has never happened before that the EU parliament interferes directly with an antitrust case treated by the European Commission. Obviously tremendous lobby pressure by European publishers and competitors like Microsoft has ‘finally’ paid off. The 90% market share of Google in the European market seems to be more than bothering for some.

Allegedly the US digital company is using its predominant position in the market to promote its own products (Google ads/shop) and does not give a slight chance to Microsoft and smaller companies to play ball. As we have followed closely in this newspaper, the case has been let linger for 4 years by the previous Commissionner, Mr Joaquin Almunia, without any conclusion despite the pressure. Now it is up to the new Commissoner, Mrs Margrethe Vestager, to handle this time bomb that was handed in her hands. As of now she needs to respond to the urge of the European Parliament that ““indexation, evaluation, presentation and ranking by search engines must be unbiased and transparent”.

#Righttobeforgotten the second slap

Moreover, the Parliament’s pledge for the Commission to do what sounds impossible, break two business units of an American 60bn dollars company in two, was not enough. Google turned also the other cheek this week to receive another slap with the publication of the “guidelines” that the search engines need to apply on the “right to be forgotten” cases. In a 90% Google market this is inescapably considered as a second attack against the silicon valley company.

Europe’s Article 29 Working Party composed by European data protection authorities issued 13 criteria to make the job of search engines easier while assessing which link is right to be forgotten and which one is ‘right to be remembered’. The reader of the Sting certainly follows the “right to be forgotten” case, initiated last Spring by a Spanish citizen’s claim to the European Court of Justice to erase some non updated info on his debts listed on Google results.

The matter since then produced international debate on freedom of speech and search engine neutrality and certainly these 13 criteria published have spurred additional criticism around the globe. Till now, in the past six months, Google has received some 174.000 requests for results’ exclusion by persons or companies on more than 600,000 links, while the company has managed to remove 40% of the requested results.

One of the cornerstone added value that these criteria bring to the ECJ’ s decision of last May, is the fact that Google and the peer are now called to extend these 13 criteria to .com domains and not only to local ones like was done in the past months, e.g. .fr (France) or .de (Germany). This means that the EU demands from search engines to apply this #righttobeforgotten paradigm globally. Can anyone grasp the chaotic implications of something like that?

What is more, Europe’s Article 29 Working Party in their document they guide the search engines to spot the “public interest” in every case that appears. Is it the job of search engines to do that? Further, among the 13 “rules”  it is very interesting to see that the EU is explicitly against the search engine to show the result for which the user has requested exclusion but not against the media source to show this information. So, the source can still contain this “bad info” that the search engine needs to omit?

Regulation like no other

All in all, it is clear that the anti-Google sentiment is fierce in Brussels and to a certain extent justified. Protecting consumers’ rights and fair competition is understandable. However, this unprecedented direct involvement of the European Parliament in an antitrust case raises some questions. Especially when it is almost synchronized with the “guidelines” issued by this advisory body, branched by the European Commission.

Are we moving towards a strictly regulated search engine market? If it is for the best of the European consumer, let’s do so. However, should search engines be regulated like any other industry? When freedom of speech and internet neutrality is at stake the matter should not be taken for granted. It is not just a matter of how to liberate a market and create turnover from other companies’ growth but it is also about how to make sure that the filtering pattern that is followed here does not grow exponentially and to unknown directions.

That would be the end of a free dynamic Internet and we will need another Tim Berners-Lee to discover another free, dynamic and truly neutral new media network in the near future.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Cameron’s “No Brexit” campaign wins top business support as Tory front breaks

UN member states express their will to tackle global migration but specific actions are still missing

Changing for the change: Medicine in Industry 4.0

The representatives of the regions and the cities know better what the EU needs on migration, trade, poverty and taxation

Resisting EU budget cuts

Huawei answers allegations about its selling prices

Economic recovery won’t tackle youth unemployment problem

Responsible Artificial Intelligence

Progress in medical research: leading or lagging behind?

European Business Summit 2014 Launch Event: “Energising Industrial Growth”

EU’s new sanctions on Russia into force “in the next few days”: strength, weakness or strategy?

EU Commission: Growth first then fiscal consolidation

Alice in Colombia

Why impoverishment and social exclusion grow in the EU; the affluent north also suffers

LEAGUE OF YOUNG VOTERS LAUNCHES TOOL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO COMPARE POLITICAL PARTIES AHEAD OF EU ELECTIONS

Medical students: The need for emigration

European Youth Forum welcomes the European Commission’s proposed revision of the Union Code on Visas, however it does not go far enough

Youth platforms call on German Government to break down legal barriers for young volunteers and pupils

More solidarity and interaction between generations needed to challenge age stereotypes and ingrained ageism

Did Draghi ask the Germans to accept a drastic change of austerity policies?

Banks get trillions and the unemployed ECB’s love…

Contact the Sting

Who is to profit from the quasi announced ECB rate cut?

European Youth Forum and youngest MEPs call on President Juncker to keep his promise to Europe’s youth

Regional competitiveness and growth: a Gordian knot for Europe

Europe again the black sheep at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

Quality Internships: Towards a Toolkit for Employers

Migration crisis update: The “Habsburg Empire” comes back to life while EU loses control

Brexit kick-off: a historic day for the EU anticlockwise

European Youth calls on European Council for urgent action on “humanitarian crisis” and questions the EU/Turkey deal respect of human rights

Why medicine is relevant to the battle against climate change

The MH17 tragedy to put a tombstone on Ukrainian civil war

Does Switzerland really need more medical students?

Macron’s Presidency: what the young generation’s expectations are

Rehn very reserved about growth in Eurozone

Why Eurozone’s problems may end in a few months

Trump stumbles badly on his Russian openings; Europeans wary of Putin

Why Europe is more competitive than the US

Social inclusion: how much should young people hope from the EU? 

Uncovered liabilities of €5 billion may render EU insolvent

The Commission tells Berlin it is legally obliged to help Eurozone out of stagnation

How Germany strives to mold ECB’s monetary policy to her interests

US, Russia oblige each other in Syria and Ukraine selling off allies

ECB asks for more subsidies to banks

Climate change will never be combatted by EU alone while some G20 countries keep procrastinating

Commission criticised member states on blocking financial transaction tax

Movius @ MWC14: Discussing novel Communications Applications over a “CAFÉ”

The ECB tells Berlin that a Germanic Eurozone is unacceptable and doesn’t work

EU Commission: a rise in wages and salaries may help create more jobs

More capital and liquidity for the banks

Migration has set EU’s political clock ticking; the stagnating economy cannot help it and Turkey doesn’t cooperate

Berlin and Paris pursue the financial fragmentation of Eurozone

Is it just visa-free travel that Erdogan demands from the EU to not break the migration deal?

Eurogroup: IMF proposes Germany disposes

Eurozone set to abandon monetary and incomes austerity and adopt growth friendly policies

China Unlimited and the Chinese dream

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

COP21 Paris agreement: a non legally-binding climate pact won’t stop effectively global warming while EU’s Cañete throws hardest part to next Commission

Eurozone needs more than some decimals of growth

The umpteenth Italian overturn takes Renzi and PD to unprecedented victory at EU elections

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s