German Newspaper Publisher Trying Bring Failed “Google Tax” To All Of Europe


Disruptive technologies are often met with lobbying efforts to block them by vested interests trying to preserve the status quo. One such example is the unsuccessful effort by taxi companies to use the law to hold back Uber’s advance, especially in Europe. Another is the European newspaper industry’s efforts to boost sagging revenues with strict “anti-piracy” laws that are effectively a “Google tax.”
The strategy of trying to force Google to pay publishers for their content, in the form of restrictive copyright laws, has been tried in Germany and Spain with unwelcome and unintended consequences for the publishers. In Germany, publishers saw traffic and ad-revenue declines; in Spain, Google shuttered its News site rather than be subject to the copyright scheme. It’s mysterious, then why the publishers are trying to expand this strategy to the entirety of Europe.
According to Politico, German publishing giant Axel Springer (which just spent $400+ million for Business Insider) is leading the charge to

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War And Peace: Bloomberg’s Massive History Of Google’s EU Antitrust Case

If you want a history of Google’s search battles with European antitrust regulators, a new article from Brad Stone (and colleagues) at Bloomberg will more than satisfy you. While there’s very little truly new information, the well-researched (and lengthy) piece is nearly comprehensive and captures all the intrigue as well as the evolving nature of the dispute.
The article is provocatively titled, “Google’s $6 Billion Miscalculation on the EU.” The $6 billion refers to the potential penalties and fines that Google may face in Europe. The “miscalculation” reflects some of Google’s missteps there, chief among which may have been its misplaced reliance on former European Commission competition czar Joaquín Almunia.
Almunia has now been replaced by Danish politician Margrethe Vestager, who is taking a tougher line against the company and is almost certain to seek financial penalties. For example, the article says she is now socializing the idea of fines with Google’s competitors:
Vestager is showing no sign of compromise. While the document containing her charges is secret,

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Demanding More Detail, Legal Group Calls On Google To Disclose RTBF Criteria

At a conference in Berlin Google’s global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer offered a window into Google’s “right to be forgotten” (RTBF) decision-making process:
The requests . . . first go to a large team of lawyers, paralegals and engineers who decide the easy cases . . . Google has dozens of people working on the requests, mostly out of the company’s European headquarters in Dublin, a Google spokesman said . . .
The harder ones get bumped up to the senior Google panel. Like many Google meetings, some participants are in a conference room, while others join remotely through the company’s Hangouts video-chat product, a spokesman said. Sometimes the group calls in outside experts, such as lawyers with particular specialties.
Fleischer added that following the discussion of each case the assembled group votes. It’s important to point out that individuals whose RTBF requests are denied can appeal to their local data protection authorities for recourse. We don’t have any data however on how many of

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