US tech giant says user data can be at risk if forced to pay for content; The regulator accuses the company of “disinformation”.

US-based internet giant Google has slammed Australia’s proposed antitrust laws, saying its free search service would be “at risk” and users’ personal data could be shared if they had to pay fees. news agencies for their content.

The Alphabet-owned company said the proposed laws would also help large media companies artificially inflate their search rankings, attracting more viewers to their platforms and giving them an unfair advantage over smaller publishers and streaming site users. Google’s YouTube.

The statement, posted on Google’s main search page, marks an escalation in tensions between big tech companies and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which called for sweeping changes to curb the way Google and social media titan Facebook Inc use local content and consumer data.

“You’ve always relied on Google search and YouTube to show you what’s most relevant and useful to you,” wrote Mel Silva, CEO of Google Australia, in the open letter. “We could no longer guarantee that under this law. “

The proposed law “would not only impact the way Google and YouTube work with news media companies – it would impact all of our Australian users,” she wrote.

The proposal to force tech companies to pay traditional media for content is the first of its kind in the world.

Last month, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the “binding code of conduct” to govern relations between the struggling news industry and US social media and research companies after 18 months of negotiations that failed failed to bring the two parties together.

“Fair payment”

As part of the plan, tech giants will have to negotiate with Australian media companies to use their content. The code also covers issues such as access to user data, transparency of algorithms, and ranking of content in news feeds and platform search results.

It will include “substantial penalties” that could cost tech companies hundreds of millions of dollars, Frydenberg said at the time.

The ACCC accused Google on Monday of posting “misinformation” and said the laws would not require the US company to charge Australians for its services or share personal data.

The bill “would allow Australian newspaper companies to negotiate fair compensation for the work of their journalists included in Google services,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

“This will resolve a significant imbalance in bargaining power between Australian news media companies and Google and Facebook,” he added.


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