By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union (EU) antitrust regulators are seeking details of Google’s data collection practices, according to a document seen by Reuters, a move that could signal yet more regulatory woes for the world’s most popular internet search engine.
The EU’s executive Commission has handed down fines of more than 8 billion euros (£6.9 billion) to Alphabet unit Google in the last two years and ordered it to change its business practices, following an investigation that showed the company abused its dominance.
Last week, the EU competition enforcer sent out questionnaires to several companies, asking them about Google’s data practices and giving them a month to reply.
The focus is on data related to local search services, online advertising, online ad targeting services, login services, web browsers and others.
Companies were asked about agreements providing data to Google or allowing it to collect data via their services in recent years, and whether they were compensated for this.
Regulators also wanted to know the kind of data sought by Google, how it uses it and how valuable the companies consider such data. Another question asked whether Google and the companies were subjected to contractual terms that prohibit or limit the use of the data.
Regulators also wanted to know if Google had refused to provide data and how this affected the companies.
The Commission declined to comment on the questionnaire and it was unclear which companies were canvassed.
In an email to Reuters, Google said: “We use data to make our services more useful and to show relevant advertising, and we give people the controls to manage, delete or transfer their data. We will continue to engage with the Commission and others on this important discussion for our industry.”
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)