Life Tech Claims and counter-claims: Government pushes back on Google’s PR blitz
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Claims and counter-claims: Government pushes back on Google’s PR blitz

The PR battle between the Australian Government and Google is underway. Photo: Getty
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Google has warned Australians proposed media bargaining laws could compromise their personal data and inhibit access to free services.

But the consumer watchdog has questioned the internet search giant’s claims.

In an open letter published online on Monday, Google claimed the news media bargaining code would force it to provide users with a “dramatically worse” Google Search and YouTube products.

“(The code) 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 managing director Mel Silva said.

So what does the ACCC make of the three big claims?

Claim One

The code will allow news media businesses to make ‘enormous and unreasonable demands’ on Google that will put its free services at risk.

WHAT THE GOVERNMENT SAYS: The draft mandatory code would not require Google to charge for its free services, such as Search and YouTube.

The code is intended to allow Australian news media businesses to negotiate fairly and in good faith payment for the inclusion of news content on digital platforms.

If good faith negotiations do not result in commercial agreements for payment, the draft code would allow mandatory arbitration over the price that digital platforms should pay.

The arbitrator must take into account whether any price would place an ‘undue burden’ on digital platforms such as Google.

Claim Two

The draft code would put news media businesses in a better position than other content creators.

WHAT THE GOVERNMENT SAYS: The draft code addresses the bargaining power imbalance between Australian news media businesses and Google and Facebook.

Google and Facebook are ‘unavoidable trading partners’ for news media businesses seeking to reach Australian audiences.

Claim Three

Google says under the laws big news businesses can seek access to data about viewers’ use of its products, and that it should not be required to hand this data over.

WHAT THE GOVERNMENT SAYS: Google would not be required to share any individual’s data with Australian news businesses under the draft code.

The code would require Google to provide news media businesses with information on the user data they collect through users’ interactions with news content.