EU Parliament votes to break up Google

The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly for the break-up of Google in a largely symbolic vote
The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly for the break-up of Google in a largely symbolic vote

The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly for the break-up of Google Thursday in a largely symbolic vote that nevertheless cast another blow in the four-year standoff between Brussels and the US Internet giant.

In a direct challenge to Google, MEPs assembled in Strasbourg approved a resolution calling on the EU to consider ordering search engines to separate their commercial services from their businesses.

While Google is not directly mentioned in the proposal, the California-based search engine is clearly the target. The resolution passed with 384 in favour and only 174 votes against.

The European Parliament has no power to launch the break-up of Google, but the move, introduced by two senior lawmakers, is further indication that the mood towards the company in Europe has soured.

Google has become an increasing source of worry for European officials on issues ranging from privacy to the protection of national publishers.

Since 2010, Google has been under investigation by the European Commission in response to complaints that its search engine, the world's biggest, was squeezing out competitors in Europe.

Google and Brussels have also clashed over the so-called "right to be forgotten", in which the EU's top court ruled last year that people had a right to ask search engines to delete results involving them after a period of time.

In another attack on Google, on Wednesday EU privacy watchdogs issued guidelines calling on the company to apply the right to be forgotten rule to all search results.

The Google logo is reflected in a woman's eye
The Google logo is reflected in a woman's eye

The parliament debate falls as the commission, the EU's executive arm, begins a new five year term, with former Luxembourg premier Jean-Claude Juncker at its helm.

The new competition commissioner, Denmark's Margrethe Vestager, has said she would look at the sensitive case carefully, but the resolution will be added pressure for her to move quickly.

Weeks before stepping down, Vestager's predecessor, Joaquin Almunia, sharply criticised the "irrational" response by European politicians to the Brussels investigation of Google.

Margrethe Vestager (pictured) has said she will look carefully at calls for Google to apply the right to be forgotten rule to al
Margrethe Vestager (pictured) has said she will look carefully at calls for Google to apply the right to be forgotten rule to all search results

Google and Almunia had made three attempts to resolve the dispute, but in each case intense pressure by national governments, Internet rivals and privacy advocates scuppered the effort.

In a statement Wednesday ahead of the vote, the US mission to the European Union said it had "noted with concern" the parliament resolution.

"It is important that the process of identifying competitive harms and potential remedies be based on objective and impartial findings and not be politicised," a spokesman for the US mission said.


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Nov 27, 2014
Google doesn`t care they just buy up any company they can get their hands on that might form a competitor. Now they are doing the same in robotics buying up company after company and completely destroying real competition and real future innovation. Good thing they are going to challenge that. They have become too big and powerful forming an extreme monopoly that is destroying any real competition. Sucking up every publisher, etc because no alternatives have the potential to compete and grow.

Nov 27, 2014
Google should sue for the breakup of Airbus.

Nov 27, 2014
"Come at the king, you best not miss" - The Wire

Google is not interested in companies, google is interested in people, their brains, and what they can copy of human behaviour and understanding to computer code. What hardware that code might be able to use to affect it's external environment.

Google has not made any overtly aggressive moves towards: Media and Politics. My prediction: next 5 years we will see a personal digital assistant forming part of each android operating system, with home automation, whereby google software will provide assistance in every aspect of your life (accounting, budgeting, bills, news, social networking, work networking, political).

I would suggest the people that make up the company that is google are significantly more intelligent and better organised that the rabble we call politicians. Politics is antiquated, when you know all the variables, you organise in the most efficient manner possible, that is what google is doing. IMO.

Nov 27, 2014
EU always has a hardon for american companies. What this will really wind up being is a huge fine. They will forcibly extract a few billion dollars from google. It's win-win. They get money, and with as popular as hating the US is right now, it's a no brainer for politicians to take this type of action.

I say we do the opposite. Google, Bing, Yahoo, all american search engines should completely blacklist all euro IPs for a hot minute and see how they like it. We turn the search back on as soon as they whimper, but only if they agree we call it even and they leave us alone for a good while. Petty little fucks.

Nov 28, 2014
European Parliament members have thus indicated to their constituents their ambivalence towards Google. Have they nothing more urgent? Politicians, 'round the world, all seem cast from the same mold.

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