Google Faces Probe From Italian Competition Watchdog Over Data Portability

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Italy’s competition authority AGCM said on Thursday it has launched an investigation against Google over an alleged abuse of dominant position in data portability. The watchdog said in a statement that Google allegedly hindered interoperability with other platforms, particularly with Weople, an app by Italian operator Hoda. “Google’s conduct could compress the right to portability of personal data… and could constrain the economic benefits that consumers can derive from their data,” the regulator said, adding that the alleged abuse could limit competition.

The competition regulator carried out inspections on Wednesday at Google premises along with Italy’s finance police, it said in a statement.

Google was not immediately available for comment.

Back in May, Britain’s competition regulator launched its second probe into the advertising practices of the company, saying the Alphabet-owned search giant could be distorting competition and may have illegally favoured its own services.

The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) probe follows its investigation into Google and Facebook owner-Meta’s “Jedi Blue” agreement earlier this year.

The CMA had revealed it was examining three key parts of the ad tech stack chain, services that mediate ad tech, since Google owned the largest provider in each of those components.

Last year, Britain’s competition regulator opened a formal investigation into Amazon and Alphabet’s Google over concerns the tech giants have not done enough to combat fake reviews on their sites.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it aims to gather further information to determine whether the firms may have broken consumer law by taking insufficient action to protect shoppers from fake reviews.

The move came after an initial CMA investigation, which opened in May 2020, and assessed several platforms’ internal systems and processes for identifying and dealing with fake reviews.

The regulator said it was also concerned that Amazon’s systems had failed adequately to prevent and deter some sellers from manipulating product listings, through for example co-opting positive reviews from other products.

© Thomson Reuters 2022




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