GOOGLE SLAPPED WITH $2.7 BILLION FINE FOR BEING A DICK

Google Slapped With $2.7 Billion Fine For Being A Dick
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GOOGLE SLAPPED WITH $2.7 BILLION FINE FOR BEING A DICK



Written by Don't Panic
27 Tuesday 27th June 2017

Since before anyone can remember, Google has been the glue that held the internet together.  

Starting life as a search engine, the site’s modest but honourable function was to help users surf to whatever corner of the web they wanted to get to. As time progressed, it began incorporating new, handy features like Maps and Image searches. Sometimes its logo changed to honour a dead person of interest, and that was pretty cool.

At some point, though, things got completely out of hand.

The sheer extent to which Google has now ingrained itself into all areas of our daily life means that it is sometimes easy to forget that it is, first and foremost, a business just like any other – albeit with a privileged vantage point unlike any other. 

Today we were reminded of this fact with the news that the European Commission has slapped Google with a $2.7 billion fine, ruling that the company has been abusing its position of power by promoting its own shopping services over those of its competitors.

Following a ten-year probe into Google’s practices, the EC concluded that the company is indeed guilty of distorting the market and unfairly squeezing out its competition – namely by placing its own price-comparison services above those of its competitors.

According to Margrethe Vestager, the European Union's Competition Commissioner, the company has “denied other companies the chance to compete on their merits and to innovate, and most importantly it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice and innovation."

G-Mail

The lawsuit follows closely on the heels of Google's recent announcement that it will finally end its controversial email snooping activities.

When gmail launched in 2004, it managed to very quickly win over vast numbers of users with the completely unprecedented offer of 1 GB 'free' storage for all basic users.

However, as everybody should know by now, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and this 'free' storage came at a high cost: our privacy. 

In signing up, users had - oftern without releasing - agreed to let Google routinely scan their emails to collect personal data that could later used to market products at them.

Last week, having faced years of opposition from campaign groups like Privacy International and Big Brother Watch, Google finally announced that it would be scrapping the practice. 

Speaking optimistically about the move, Big Brother Watch's chief executive, Renate Samson said: "Google's move is absolutely a step in the right direction, let's hope it encourages others to follow suit."

However, Privacy International's executive director, Dr Gus Hosein was less optimistic, suggesting that Google have simply moved onto more rewarding methods.

"The reality is that what you choose to say over email to another human being isn't as interesting for exploitation as the data you have no control over - Google would rather exploit your data by tracking you across the internet, across their mobile operating system, their search engine, their apps, their smart devices, and likely some day soon, their car, amongst a myriad of other services that they dominate through the exploitation of our data."

 

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