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Germany is looking to regulate Google and other technology giants

Leaked document points at tighter controls
Mon Jul 14 2014, 13:14
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GERMAN OFFICIALS are planning to clip the wings of technology giants such as Google through heavier regulation.

According to a report in the Sunday Times, the country's Federal Cartel Office would be given powers to curtail Google's influence, were it decided that it had got too big for its boots.

A document obtained by the newspaper says that under the new rules, technology companies would be treated and regulated like utilities such as electricity and water and subject to the same anti-competitive pricing laws governing their advertising.

Proposals to legislate the internet as a utility are at the heart of the debate that's under way in the US right now, where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is coming under increasing pressure to classify ISPs as "Title II" utilities in order to protect net neutrality.

In Europe, a commitment to net neutrality is already in place, and any German legislation would only serve to further solidify the country's commitment to avoiding technology strangleholds.

Full details of the 30-page document are yet to be released, with varying reports of its potential impact, ranging from "last resort" to "all out regulation".

The German government has always been militant in matters of data protection. In 2013, it warned consumers against using Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system due to perceived security risks, suggesting that it provided a back door for the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Of course, this might have had something to do with the fact that German chancellor Angela Merkel was one of the first high-profile victims of NSA surveillance, with some reports saying that the NSA hacked her mobile phone for over a decade. µ

 

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