Google warns Australians may lose free search providers

Canberra, August 17

Google on Monday warned that the Australian authorities’s plans to make digital giants pay for information content material threatens customers’ free providers in Australia and will hand customers’ information to media organisations.

The US-based firm’s warning, contained in what it referred to as an “Open letter to Australians”, comes every week earlier than public consultations shut on Australian draft legal guidelines that may make each Google and Facebook pay for information siphoned from business media corporations.

“A proposed law…would force us to provide you with a dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube, could lead to your data being handed over to big news businesses, and would put the free services you use at risk in Australia,” Google Australia and New Zealand managing director Mel Silva wrote.

Google owns YouTube, a video-sharing platform.

Both Google and Facebook have condemned the proposed laws, which was launched final month and goals to succeed the place different nations have failed in making them compensate media companies for information content material.

Australian competitors watchdog Rod Sims, chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which drafted the legal guidelines, stated Google’s letter “contains misinformation”.

“Google will not be required to charge Australians for the use of its free services such as Google Search and YouTube, unless it chooses to do so. Google will not be required to share any additional user data with Australian news businesses unless it chooses to do so,” Sims stated in a press release.

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the minister chargeable for the buyer watchdog, stated in a press release that the draft legislation “remains open for consultation, providing an opportunity for media companies and digital platforms to provide feedback” till August 28.

Swinburne University senior lecturer on media Belinda Barnet described the Google letter as a “cynical exercise” designed to “scare Google users”. “I see no merit in any of the arguments,” she stated.

“One of the most ironic arguments is that they’re going to have to hand over some data to news organisations — for example which article people have read and how long they may have read it for — and this coming from the world’s major privacy violator and certainly the world’s largest data aggregator is a bit rich,” Barnet added.

Google has been battling the Australian shopper watchdog on two fronts.

Last month, the watchdog launched courtroom motion towards Google for allegedly deceptive account holders about its use of their private information.

The fee alleges that Google misled hundreds of thousands of Australians to acquire their consent and broaden the scope of private data that it collects about customers’ web exercise to focus on promoting. Google denies the allegations. AP

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