EU Preparing To Unleash First-Ever Regulations Targeting Search Engines

Roughly nine months after Google's parent company Alphabet was slapped with a 2.4 billion euro fine for "abusing its dominance in search," Brussels bureaucrats are reportedly preparing to take things a step further and unleash Europe-wide regulations for search engines and other online platforms and apps. According to the Financial Times, which broke the story, the regulations are meant to protect companies that rely on Google, Apple or Amazon to sell their services or products.

European policymakers have been exploring ways to target "harmful" trade practices as many small firms in the region have complained that tech behemoths like Google have skewed search results to favor its own services over the services of its competitors. The issue has so far been left for members states to deal with. Of the largest European states, France has distinguished itself as among the most aggressive in trying to push back against the US-domiciled tech giants and their allegedly anti-competitive tendencies.

The regulations are also notable in that they represent the most stringent rules governing search engines' behavior by a developed Western power.

EU

Case in point: Earlier today, the French government warned that it could take legal action against Google and Apple over their "abusive" business practices.

"I believe in an economy based on justice and I will take Google and Apple before the Paris Commercial Court for abusive business practices" against French start-ups, said French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on a local radio program.

"I consider that Google and Apple, as powerful as they are, shouldn't treat our start-ups and our developers in the way they do today," said Le Maire, calling the situation "unacceptable".

The news didn't have much of an impact on shares of Google, Apple or their megacap-tech brethren.

The EU’s strike against what it refers to as "online intermediation services" was delayed in December so it could be tweaked to cover search engines, according to the FT, which obtained a draft of the regulations.

"Online intermediation services can hold superior bargaining power over their business users, enabling them to behave unilaterally in a way that is capable of harming the businesses using them," the draft says, adding that search engine rankings are also potentially unfair and capable of causing economically significant harm."

Under the new rules, tech companies would be required to supply companies with more information about how their ranking algorithms work. They also would need to provide a formal complaint to any company or app if Google decides to demote or de-list them from its search results.

While these regulations have reportedly been in the works for months - and aren't entirely unexpected - the timing of Wednesday's leak is notable. Given that a draft of the rules was quietly leaked to the FT, it could be construed as a tacit warning to the US: The European Union has more than one way to respond to US protectionism.

Comments

Thom Paine opsyn Wed, 03/14/2018 - 23:55 Permalink

WebRTC leak control
Click&Clean
DuckDuck go privacy essentials.
js only allowed for approved sites
VPN
VPN and computer time zone set to same.
and on a VM
- about as much as the average person can go I think.
The only identifier then is Browser Finger print - the uniqueness of how your browser is set up, add-ons etc.

In reply to by opsyn

Offthebeach wisehiney Thu, 03/15/2018 - 06:07 Permalink

Oh the horrors of Google and Amazon, and the like. It's as if the KGB is at your door every midnight, or contant marching of the Wehrmact hobnails keeping you from getting the best deal on a Chinese made black anal vibrator that meets EU polyblahblah Recycle and child safe that is Halal compliant.

How can life go on?

God forbid someone push past the bums at the library and pick up a book and get up off the couch and garden, or weld, or walk to the greasy spoon even if you are not immediately certain of its Yelp score.

However, I would approve of the fat useless tax parasites of forcing Google, and the like, of forcing them to make pop-up banners every half hour stating that you dear porn/faceplant/whatever viewer are the product and are what is being sold to....whomever pays us the most. Kind of like a tobacco warning.

But then I would like all government statements, posters, even cops to say first that at core, we live off your labor, and irredeemable hours and days of your life, such that 20 years you are slaving for my pig nosed kids, and my blister wife and my vacation home and We are here to help you. I'd like that

Actually, if Google/Apple/EU incest who bites the pillow first fight is all that is happening, it is pretty good. It is good Goog and such get mugged, get stretched in their collective skinny jeans asses. I think I'll support Brussles for a bit. My enemy is my enemmy whatnot.

In reply to by wisehiney

Jasher Wed, 03/14/2018 - 23:47 Permalink

script search

 

39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

mc888 Thu, 03/15/2018 - 00:03 Permalink

Under the new rules, tech companies would be required to supply companies with more information about how their ranking algorithms work.

Sorry, proprietary algos are a trade secret. And BTW we can ban your whole country from our network if you keep pissing us off.

soyungato Thu, 03/15/2018 - 00:24 Permalink

Theresa May's 'Novichok' Claims Fall Further Apart

The British government claims that 'Novichok' poisons, developed 30 years ago in the Soviet Union, affected a British double agent. Such substances may not exits at all.

The 'whistleblower' for the 'Novichok' program and poisons published some chemical formulas that should enable any decent laboratory to reproduce them. But neither the existence of the claimed program nor the existence of the alleged substances were ever accepted by the scientific community.

The highly constructed drama around the alleged poisoning of a British double agent Skripal and his daughter has thus turned into a surreal play. The British government has so far given no evidence that the Skripal's were poisoned at all, or were poisoned by someone else. No detailed medical bulletin was published. The British accusations against Russia lets one assume that a suicide attempt has been excluded. Why?

There is no independent evaluation of the alleged poison. The British government claims that its own chemical weapon laboratory at Porton Down, only a few miles from where the incident happened, has identified the poison as one of the 'Novichok' chemicals.

But in 2016 a leading chemist at Porton Down published a piece in a scientific journal that denied that such chemicals exist. (Tim Hayword and Craig Murray both point this out):

headless blogger Thu, 03/15/2018 - 01:46 Permalink

By now everyone knows that everytime you search something you will get pretty much the same websites. It never used to be like that. 

So, Google definitely did something. It used to be that many great Alternative news sites would come up with their articles. I never see them anymore. 

I do everything I can to NEVER click on the trashy mainstream sites that I always get....CNN, ABC, and so on. Or "ehow" or "answer"...blah blah blah.