Big Tech Compliance Tracker: Google Faces $270 Million Fine From France; Ohio AG Seeks To Make Google A ‘Public Utility’

Big Tech Compliance Tracker: Google Faces $270 Million Fine From France; Ohio AG Seeks To Make Google A ‘Public Utility’

June 15, 2021 at 08:19PM

Here’s the latest news from the technology industry, which is coming under increasing global scrutiny. 

Google Faces $270 Million Fine From France in Antitrust Settlement

As part of an antitrust settlement with watchdogs in France, Google will pay a financial penalty of $270 million and modify its very large digital advertising operation, CNN reported. In a statement, the tech company said it has been working with the French Competition Authority (FCA) during the last two years to address their queries regarding its advertising technology – and its Google Ad Manager, in particular. “As part of an overall resolution of the FCA’s investigation, we have agreed on a set of commitments to make it easier for publishers to make use of data and use our tools with other ad technologies,” Google said in the statement.

Ohio AG Seeks to Make Google a ‘Public Utility’ Through a Lawsuit

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has sued Google, seeking to have the court declare the tech company as a “public utility,” according to a news release from Yost’s office. The suit does not pursue monetary damages. “Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products — that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost said in the news release. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access.”

G-7 Nations Back Global Minimum Corporate Tax Rate of at Least 15 Pct

To dissuade firms operating in different countries from evading taxes by storing profits in low-rate nations, the Group of Seven (G7) has agreed to a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent, NPR reported. Moreover, G-7 finance ministers that gathered in the U.K. endorsed plans to make the largest firms around the globe pay taxes in nations where they have many sales but lack on-the-ground headquarters. “At the @G7 in London today, my finance counterparts and I have come to an historic agreement on global tax reform, requiring the largest multinational tech giants to pay their fair share of tax in the U.K.,” Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said in a June 5 Twitter post.

Europe Releases Internet of Things Industry Report

The European Commission released the preliminary results from its “competition sector inquiry into markets for consumer Internet of Things (IoT) related products and services” in the bloc, according to an announcement. Its preliminary report confirmed that these markets are quickly expanding, while it identified possible concerns that respondents to the inquiry sent in.

“When we launched this sector inquiry, we were concerned that there might be a risk of gatekeepers emerging in this sector. We were worried that they could use their power to harm competition, to the detriment of developing businesses and consumers. From the first results published today, it appears that many in the sector share our concerns,” Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said in the announcement. 

Google to Stop Charging Fee for Search Engines to Show up on Choice Screen

Google plans to no longer charge search engines to show up on a list of default search engines on Android that is only for European users, CNBC reported. “We have been in constructive discussions with the European Commission for many years about how to promote even more choice on Android devices, while ensuring that we can continue to invest in, and provide, the Android platform for free for the long term,” Google said in a blog post. “Following further feedback from the Commission, we are now making some final changes to the Choice Screen, including making participation free for eligible search providers.”