“We Will Keep Taking Action”: ACCC Vows To Keep Pressure On Google

“We Will Keep Taking Action”: ACCC Vows To Keep Pressure On Google

ACCC boss Rod Sims has vowed to keep scrutinising tech giant Google, following the announcement of more legal action.

On Monday the ACCC revealed it would be taking Google to the Federal Court over a 2016 policy change which saw Google give users the opportunity to opt-in to new data collecting framework.

“We are taking this action because we consider Google misled Australian consumers about what it planned to do with large amounts of their personal information, including internet activity on websites not connected to Google,” Sims said.

Google has denied any wrongdoing, with a company spokesperson telling B&T: “we strongly disagree with their allegations and intend to defend our position”.

But regardless of whether or not the ACCC’s claims hold up in court, Sims said the competition watchdog will keep holding Google to account.

“We will keep taking action, as will agencies overseas, and it will shape how these platforms behave, to make sure that the internet is a benefit to users, not a detriment,” Sims told reporters on Monday.

Sims also indicated that the latest probe into Google will prompt further investigations, as the ACCC uncovers more information.

“Since we’ve been working on this, we’ve had more issues coming up,” he said.

“And we’ll make judgments about issues we see, either under competition law or consumer law, where we think there’s real harm and where we think they matter. It’s fair to say there’ll be more.

“I can’t give you the timing of those and I can’t tell you how many, but where we think it’s important we’ll certainly be taking on more matters.”

A long list

The latest ACCC v Google court case joins a long list of activities from the competition watchdog against the tech giant.

The ACCC first launched legal action against Google in 2007 and in 2013 the company won a longstanding High Court battle against the watchdog over sponsored links.

In October 2019, the ACCC instituted Federal court proceedings against Google, alleging the tech giant misled consumers about how location data was collected.

The ACCC also handed down the highly-anticipated Digital Platforms Inquiry last year.

The report has so far led to further inquiries into online advertising and digital platforms, as well as the establishment of a specialised Digital Platforms Branch within the ACCC.

Furthermore, a draft bargaining code which will likely see both Google and Facebook forced to pay media outlets for news content is expected to be unveiled by the ACCC later this week.

US Probe comes to a close

Sims’ promise to keep the pressure on Google comes as the company’s global CEO Sundar Pichai prepares to join Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and Apple’s Tim Cook before Congress in the United States.

The Congress appearance will finish off a yearlong investigation from the House Judiciary into the market dominance of Big Tech.

The focus of the investigation is on antitrust, and will likely see Pichai and co quizzed on previous acquisitions, data privacy and the danger of digital monopolies.


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