Squabbling Over Google’s ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Continues One Year on

Sam Schechner, WSJ Digits,  Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The squabbling over Europe’s right to be forgotten may have scarcely begun. One year after the European Union’s top court ruled that people could ask Google and other search engines to remove links in search results for their name, the Calif.-based search giant has set up a detailed process to comply, removing hundreds of thousands of links. But a bigger fight is continuing to simmer over how broadly the new European right should apply—one that could end up back in court.

EU Antitrust Endgame is Google-Android Platform Neutrality

Scott Cleland, Precursor Blog,  Friday, May 08, 2015

In sum, long term expect the main event and challenge of Europe’s Single Digital Market to be how effectively it handles “platform neutrality” for Google Android/Chrome, which is poised to become the pervasive and dominant operating system platform of Europe’s Single Digital Market on which most all of the rest of Europe’s single digital market will function -- and succeed or fail.

EU Is Right To Focus On Android In Google Investigation

Law 360,  Thursday, May 07, 2015

What the European Commission is acknowledging is that, in a world where mobile is becoming the primary mode of access to the Internet for large numbers of people, controlling the dominant mobile operating system just might be as crucial to Google’s business model and anti-competitive role as its search engine. In fact, Google makes essentially no revenue from users of either its Android operating system or its search engine, but each play a role in giving Google dominance in Internet advertising, especially its Adwords keyword-based advertising — often called search advertising, but which in fact delivers up ads to search engines, Gmail and a range of partner sites.

EU Announces Plans to Create Digital Single Market

Tom Fairless, Wall Street Journal,  Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The European Union unveiled a signature plan to unite the region’s fragmented online markets and crack down on possible abuses by U.S. Internet firms, a move policy makers hope will boost the economy and help spawn Internet giants to rival Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. The plans, six months in the making, are a cornerstone of efforts by the EU’s recently appointed executive arm to jump-start growth. They contain 16 initiatives ranging from an overhaul of the region’s telecommunications rules to harmonized copyright and tax regimes to cybersecurity and even better parcel delivery.

Europe’s timid embrace of the digital economy

Financial Times Commentary,  Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The knottier problem is how to address platforms: the search engines, stores and websites that constitute the metaphorical high street of the digital economy. What drives their business models are economies of scale in the business of gathering information. “Network effects” result in more customers rendering the service ever more compelling, making it increasingly difficult to leave. Such a concentration of data, as well as touching on a deeply felt European concern with privacy, can lead to abuses of market power: over customers, rivals or through the encroachment into other connected markets.

Patriot Act a la Francaise Passes Even as Opposition Mounts

Gregory Viscusi, Bloomberg,  Tuesday, May 05, 2015

A proposed French law beefing up the government’s spying powers following the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in Paris sailed through the lower house of parliament. The National Assembly said 438 lawmakers voted in favor, 86 against, and 42 abstained. The bill now goes to the Senate which can suggest amendments but not overturn the assembly’s vote.

Meet the woman leading the EU's case against Google

David Brancaccio, Marketplace,  Monday, May 04, 2015

Asked if Google favoring its own products in its search results “violates” European rules, Vestager stated, “Yes, because as a consumer you would expect to get the best answer to your query. And if, systematically, you get the Google service as the answer to your query, that may not be the best thing.

Security and privacy must go hand in hand, not head-to-head, says European Privacy Supervisor

Julie De Bruyn and Patrick Van Eecke, JD Supra,  Monday, May 04, 2015

While acknowledging the importance of cybersecurity for the sustainability of our digitally supported economy and society, Buttarelli stated that the privacy challenges cybersecurity entails are not to be minimalized, and that its objective is not to be misused to justify measures weakening the protection of data protection rights.

Silicon Valley braced for expected Brussels scrutiny

Duncan Robinson, Financial Times,  Friday, May 01, 2015

Uber, Apple, Amazon, Netflix — almost every internet company that has succeeded in dominating its sector appears to be a potential target for Brussels, which is expected to launch an investigation of internet platforms by the end of the year. In a 17-page draft of its new blueprint for a “digital single market”, which still must be approved by the full 28-member European Commission next week, officials stopped short of naming specific companies that would be targeted in the new inquiry.

Stop the Hysteria. Of Course Europe Wants an Open Internet

David O'Sullivan (EU Ambassador to the US), Wired,  Friday, May 01, 2015

EU antitrust authorities are not “going after U.S. tech companies“. They investigate companies, of any nationality, when there is a suggestion of abuse of dominant market position. These investigations are often triggered by complaints from competitors who themselves are often based outside the EU. In more traditional sectors, our investigations focus on European companies because they have been the dominant players. There is no space for political jockeying when you look at market numbers.