Google raises ‘unintended fallout’ of antitrust laws

Insight Online News

New Delhi, Jan 19 : Google has expressed deep concern about the “unintended consequences” of the antitrust laws ahead of the Senate Judiciary Committee review of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.

In a blog post, Kent Walke, President Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer Google and Alphabet said millions of Americans use online services like Google Search, Maps, and Gmail to find new information and get things done but, “legislation being debated in the House and Senate could break these and other popular online services, making them less helpful and less secure, and damaging American competitiveness”.

Kent Walke says that these bills would impose one set of rules on American companies while giving a pass to foreign companies. “And they would give the Federal Trade Commission and other government agencies unprecedented power over the design of consumer products. All of this would be a dramatic reversal of the approach that has made the U.S. a global technology leader.

“An ‘innovation by permission’ requirement could force American technology companies to get approval from government bureaucrats before launching new features or even fixing problems, while foreign companies would be free to innovate. Foreign companies could also routinely access American technology as well as Americans’ data.”

He said these bills would degrade privacy and security and “would prevent us from securing our products by default, and would introduce new privacy risks”.

“The bills could hamper our ability to integrate automated security features if other companies offer similar features. For example, we might be prevented from automatically including our SafeBrowsing service and spam filters in Chrome and Gmail to block pop-ups, viruses, scams, and malware.

“These bills may compel us to share the sensitive data you store with us with unknown companies in ways that could compromise your privacy.

And when you use Google Search or Google Play, we might have to give equal prominence to a raft of spammy and low-quality services,” he said.

The antitrust law is about ensuring that companies are competing hard to build their best products for consumers. But the vague and sweeping provisions of these bills would break popular products that help consumers and small businesses, only to benefit a handful of companies who brought their pleas to Washington, he added.


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