EU President hopeful Schulz urges checks on Google's power

BERLIN Sat May 17, 2014 8:40am EDT

A journalist records the speech of Socialist candidate for European Commission president, Martin Schulz, with his mobile phone during a news conference in Brussels May 7, 2014. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

A journalist records the speech of Socialist candidate for European Commission president, Martin Schulz, with his mobile phone during a news conference in Brussels May 7, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Related Topics

BERLIN (Reuters) - Martin Schulz, the center-left's candidate to lead the European Commission after EU parliamentary elections this month, has joined calls for Google's market dominance to be subject to strict regulation.

Two days ago Germany's Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said a ruling by a top European court on Tuesday that Internet firms can be made to remove irrelevant or excessive personal information from the web was a "wake up" call for digital safeguards.

Germany was considering if firms such as Google were abusing their market leader position he said. Google has declined to comment.

"Whoever knows everything about citizens, firms and politicians achieves a level of power which doesn't belong in a pluralistic democracy," Schulz, who is president of the European parliament, told Reuters in Berlin.

Besides concerns about what data it displays, the world's top Internet search engine Google has also faced difficulties over anti-trust issues and how it shows competitors' information.

Google reached a deal with EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia in February by agreeing to display rivals' links more prominently, hoping to end a three-year-old case that could have led to a fine of up to $5 billion (3.6 billion euros).

Rivals say Google's concessions do not go far enough and will only entrench its dominance of Internet searches. EU regulators plan to issue a final decision after the summer break.

(Reporting by Holger Hansen, writing by Alexandra Hudson, editing by William Hardy)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
JArbuckle wrote:
Sad that the US has worse privacy policies than the EU — what happened to the Bill of Rights and right to privacy?

Oh right congress got bought by lobbyist…

May 17, 2014 6:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
dumspirospero wrote:
In the US Google has the capability and right to know everything about you, down to the food that you buy and eat. That said, the food you eat may be mislabelled and ingredients and information may be omitted. That’s right, folks: if you live in America, your FOOD has more privacy than you.

Something is wrong with our system.

May 18, 2014 8:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.