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

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Making money from meeting the SDGs? An overarching approach to sustainable development.

“BEUC cautions against TTIP that would seek to align EU and US chemicals management frameworks”

China Unlimited and the Chinese dream

Google strongly rejects EU antitrust charges and now gets ready for the worst to come

A Sting Exclusive: “The challenge of Society’s digital transformation”, Spanish Minister of Spain for Industry, Energy and Tourism José Manuel Soria live from European Business Summit 2015

Brexit: No deal without marginalizing the hard Tory Eurosceptic MPs

Merkel: Nationalism and egoism must never have a chance again in Europe

OECD joins with Argentina to fight financial crime

The refugee crisis as a young Nigerian doctor sees it

3 charts to help you understand the American shale boom

UK: Crawley group wins European Citizens’ Prize

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia

Trump’s MAGA policy remains unchanged as EU warns to impose additional retaliation tariffs on US products

Have Europe’s Ukrainian wounds begun to heal?

Brexit talks stalled at launch; issues with European Court’s authority in Britain

What happens when the Eurogroup decides to help Greece

Berlin wants to break South’s politico-economic standing

VW diesel scandal and climate change: can increased independent car checks lead to cleaner mobility?

At last Britain considers a super-soft Brexit

Libya: ‘Substantial civilian casualties’ in Derna, UN humanitarian chief ‘deeply concerned’

Sanctions on Russia to be the biggest unity test at this European Council

Europe and UN form bulwark against ‘might makes right’ worldview, EU foreign affairs chief tells Security Council

A machine din

Hostages to a rampant banking system

UN chief welcomes re-opening of key Gaza border crossing

Report on EU trade defence – effective protection against unfair trade

New rules to help consumers join forces to seek compensation

Yemen: Major UN aid boost for ‘up to 14 million’ as country risks becoming a land of ‘living ghosts’

Quality Education on the table at the European Parliament

The Commission tries to stop the ‘party’ with the structural funds

UN launches drive to highlight environmental cost of staying fashionable

INTERVIEW: ‘Defend the people, not the States’, says outgoing UN human rights chief

The UK to split if May’s hard or no-deal Brexit is pursued

UN General Assembly President defends ‘landmark’ migration compact

The Juncker Plan at work: bringing investment back on track in Europe

Local innovation, international impact: SMEs and the ITU Telecom World Awards

COP24: Huge untapped potential in greener construction, says UN environment agency

Three myths keeping government procurement stuck in the past

Sahel States need international support ‘now more than ever’– UN peacekeeping chief

Why strive for Industry 4.0

This project in India helps people and tigers co-exist peacefully

UNICEF warns of ‘lost generation’ of Rohingya youth, one year after Myanmar exodus

Algeria must stop arbitrary expulsion of West African migrants in desert: UN migration rights expert

Commission proposes fishing opportunities in the Atlantic and North Sea for 2019

Rule of Law: The Commission opens a debate to strengthen the rule of law in the EU

Impacting society with digital ingenuity – World Summit Award proclaiming the top 8 worldwide

Berlin favours economic and social disintegration in certain Eurozone countries

Making the most of the Sustainable Development Goal 3: its overlooked role in medical education

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Mandatory food labelling Non-Vegetarian / Vegetarian / Vegan’ initiative’

Oh, well, you are wrong, Google responds to the European Commission

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: Children Will Bear the Brunt of Climate Change: UNICEF

3 ways to nurture collaboration between universities and industry

Modern farming is harming the planet. Tech-driven permaculture could heal it

European Business Summit 2013: Where Business and Politics shape the future

EU Summit/Migration: Parliament calls for joint solutions based on solidarity

China is building 8 new airports a year

EU Budget: InvestEU Programme to support jobs, growth and innovation in Europe

‘Power is not given, power is taken’, UN chief tells women activists, urging push-back against status quo

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s