Google says Australian law would put search at risk

Google says Australian law would put search at risk
Google says their search would seriously hampered for the Australian law. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: Internet search giant Google has attacked a new Australian law forcing it to pay local news outlets – saying it could threaten search services in the country.

The firm warned in an open letter that its YouTube and Search features could be “dramatically worse” if new rules were brought in.

Google also added that users’ data could be shared.

But the Australian competition regulator branded Google’s letter as “misinformation”.

The Australian government has been preparing legislation over the past few months, which will make Google and Facebook pay local publishers for their content.

Google has said today that it will fight the regulation which the government says is designed to create “a level playing field” for news outlets.

Google’s Australia managing director Mel Silva, wrote in the open letter: “The way Aussies search every day on Google is at risk from new regulation.”

“You’ve always relied on Google Search and YouTube to show you what’s most relevant and helpful to you. We could no longer guarantee that under this law,” the letter added.

Ms Silva said Google Search and YouTube services would be “dramatically worse” and the new regulation “could lead to your data being handed over to big news businesses”,

What are the proposals?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission published draft legislation last month which called on internet companies such as Facebook and Google to pay for content.

The law would allow news companies to negotiate as a bloc with tech giants for content which appears in their search results and news feeds.

The draft code covers other matters too, including algorithms to notifying news companies of changes.

Penalties could be 10% of the company’s local turnover or up to A$10m (£5m; $7m) per breach.

The competition regulator said today that Google’s open letter “contains misinformation” about the proposed law.

Rod Sims, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman said in a statement: “Google will not be required to charge Australians for the use of its free services such as Google Search and YouTube, unless it chooses to do so.”

“Google will not be required to share any additional user data with Australian news businesses unless it chooses to do so.”

Mr Sims said the new regulations would “address a significant bargaining power imbalance” between internet organisations and Australian news media.

A healthy news media sector is essential to a well-functioning democracy, he added.

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