European Union antitrust officials are investigating Google’s data collection, the European Commission said on Saturday, noting that the world’s most popular Internet search engine is still under consideration despite record fines imposed in recent years.
Competition officials in both Europe and the United States are looking at how dominant technology companies can use and leverage data.
The EU’s executive committee said it was seeking information on how and why Google’s Alphabet engine collected the data, confirming a Reuters account on Friday.
“The Commission has sent inquiries as part of a preliminary investigation into Google’s practices regarding Google’s collection and use of data. The preliminary investigation is continuing,” the committee told Reuters in an e-mail.
A document seen by Reuters shows the EU’s focus on data related to local search services, online advertising, online advertising targeted to specific sectors, login services and web browsers.
Fines of 8 billion euros
EU Competition Commissioner Margaret Vestager has imposed fines totaling more than € 8 billion on Google over the past two years and ordered it to change its tactics.
Google said it uses data to improve its services and that users can manage, delete and transfer their data at any time.
Other antitrust probes against Google
In September 2019, the US House Judiciary Committee started investigating Google’s plan to implement a new internet protocol, DNS-over-HTTPS that can give the company undue competitive advantage.
In September 2019, 50 state Attorney Generals launched an antitrust probe into Google, looking at its advertising and search businesses.
In December 2018, the European Commission sent questionnaires to Google’s rivals asking them if Google demoted local search competitors. It asked for details of Google’s practices and their impact on competing services between January 2012 to December 2017. This questionnaire was prompted by a complaint by American search and advertising company Yelp and rivals in the travel, restaurant and accommodation industries.