Life Tech Europe votes to smash up Google

Europe votes to smash up Google

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The European Parliament has voiced its anger at search giant Google by voting overwhelmingly to split up the company.

The European Union (EU) does not actually have the power to break up the US-based company, but the symbolic vote sends a clear message.

The resolution received 68 per cent approval, with legislators in Strasbourg voting 384 to 173 on Thursday in favour of it.

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The resolution calls on the EU to order search engines to separate their commercial services from their businesses.

Google was not named in the resolution but was clearly the target, given a four-year standoff between the EU and the internet giant.

The mood towards the company in Europe has soured because of a range of issues, from privacy to the protection of national publishers.

Since 2010, Google has been under investigation by the European Commission in response to complaints that its search engine, the world’s biggest, was squeezing out competitors in Europe.

The proposal seems to be an attempt to force a quicker resolution of the probe.

German conservative lawmaker and co-sponsor of the bill Andreas Schwab said it was a political signal to the Commission.

“In case the proceedings against Google carry on without any satisfying decisions and the current anti-competitive behaviour continues to exist, a regulation of the dominant online web search should be envisaged,” Mr Schwab said.

“Monopolies in whatever market have never been useful, neither for consumers nor for the companies.”

Google and Brussels have also clashed over the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’, in which the EU’s top court ruled last year that people had a right to ask search engines to delete results involving them after a period of time.

In another attack on Google, on Wednesday EU privacy watchdogs issued guidelines calling on the company to apply the right to be forgotten rule to all search results.

The European Parliament has never voted to break up a company before, making this a historic decision.

—with AAP.

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