Google's data collection to be scrutinised by EU antitrust investigators

The firm faces another probe into its business practices following US investigations in September

Google is facing a probe by EU antitrust investigators into how the search engine giant collects and monetises user data.

Although the EU has levied billions of euros in fines against Google over several matters in the recent past, the European Commission is making further preliminary enquiries into the firm's data collection practices, according to Reuters.

It comes in the wake of US investigators revealing in September that they were launching an investigation into "potential monopolistic behaviour" against Google on behalf of 50 US states and territories.

"The Commission has sent out questionnaires as part of a preliminary investigation into Google's practices relating to Google's collection and use of data," an EU official told Reuters. "The preliminary investigation is ongoing."

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Documents show the focus of this investigation is on data related to local search services, online advertising, online ad targeting services, login services, web browsers and a host of other aspects.

The EU's competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has levied several eye-watering antitrust fines against Google in recent years in a bid to change the company's attitude and practices. These penalties include a €4.3 billion fine for Android competition abuse in 2018, and a further €1.5 billion for anti-trust concerns over Adsense earlier this year.

Prospective action from the EU has also come at a time when Google's data collection practices are under fire from the UK's own Competition and Markets Authority. 

The regulator has said it's exploring the possibility of an investigation into the $2.6 billion purchase of big data-analytics firm Looker, with a 20 December deadline to gather feedback from stakeholders before assessing whether an official probe into the acquisition is needed.

Related Resource

Understanding the must-haves of modern data protection

Go beyond traditional backup and recovery

Download now

Looker Data Sciences offers cloud-based services that allow customers to gain business-related insights from masses of data, and visualise them in accessible formats. Google would feed the company's technology into Google Cloud's BigQuery tool for managing large databases.

The move is unusual, considering the deal concerns two US companies and the fact that US regulators have cleared the agreement. However, it suggests that UK regulators are becoming more sensitive to the potential impact that business practices of US tech giants likes of Google can have on UK markets and competition.

Featured Resources

The IT Pro guide to Windows 10 migration

Everything you need to know for a successful transition

Download now

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Software-defined storage for dummies

Control storage costs, eliminate storage bottlenecks and solve storage management challenges

Download now

6 best practices for escaping ransomware

A complete guide to tackling ransomware attacks

Download now
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/security/identity-and-access-management-iam/354289/44-million-microsoft-customers-found-using
identity and access management (IAM)

44 million Microsoft customers found using compromised passwords

6 Dec 2019
Visit/cloud/microsoft-azure/354230/microsoft-not-amazon-is-going-to-win-the-cloud-wars
Microsoft Azure

Microsoft, not Amazon, is going to win the cloud wars

30 Nov 2019
Visit/hardware/354237/five-signs-that-its-time-to-retire-it-kit
Sponsored

Five signs that it’s time to retire IT kit

29 Nov 2019
Visit/business/business-strategy/354195/where-modernisation-and-sustainability-meet-a-tale-of-two
Sponsored

Where modernisation and sustainability meet: A tale of two benefits

25 Nov 2019