Google document shows it’s targeting EU lawmakers ahead of critical legislation


An illuminated Google logo is seen inside an office building in Zurich, Switzerland December 5, 2018.

Arnd Wiegmann | Reuters

LONDON — Google is targeting European politicians over their plans to tackle the dominance of Big Tech, the Financial Times reported, citing an internal document.

In the presentation seen by the FT, the tech giant outlined a two-month strategy aimed at removing potential “constraints” to its business model on the back of an upcoming EU proposal that will affect the entire sector.

Karan Bhatia, Google’s VP of global government affairs and public policy, issued a statement to CNBC that said in part: “As we’ve made clear in our public and private communications, we have concerns about certain reported proposals that would prevent global technology companies from serving the growing needs of European users and businesses.”

Google did not confirm or deny the existence of the document cited in the FT when asked by CNBC.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, is planning to update the legal framework for digital services — something that has not been done since 2000 — in what’s known as the Digital Services Act. In simple terms, the EU wants to make tech giants more responsible for the content on their platforms, and to ensure that competitors have a fair chance to succeed against the big firms.

The upcoming legislation will “require digital services to take more responsibility for dealing with illegal content and dangerous products,” European Competition Chief Margrethe Vestager said in a speech earlier this week. She also said they would have to be more transparent.

Google has said it is not against reforming the rules, but it opposes how the new laws could impact how digital tools can be developed going forward.

According to the FT report, Google is looking to “increase pushback” on the French Commissioner Thierry Breton, who’s working alongside Vestager on the new legislation, as well as “weakening support” for their proposal.

The full FT report is available here.

 



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