New European probe into US tech giants puts Google, Amazon and others back under fire

By Justin Kahn
Apr 30, 2015
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  1. The European Union is prepping an investigation into the way major US tech companies operate overseas, according to reports. Separate from the ongoing anti-trust investigation that has companies like Google under the gun, the plan is a wide-ranging assessment that will cover everything from US internet giants, telecoms companies and streaming services.

    The probe is part of a larger plan to unify Europe’s digital market, but is said to include companies like Google, Amazon and Netflix among others. It looks as though it will investigate the way search results are handled, especially sponsored ads, as well as the way customer data is used. The probe will also examine the way these companies and others allow users to switch to other services and whether or not streaming companies like Netflix should be treated the same as a traditional broadcaster.

    Services like Skype and WhatsApp are also involved here. The Union is reportedly leaning towards allowing for lesser obligations compared to the traditional counterparts for both telecoms and streaming based services.

    Along with a unified and more accessible copyright law that would allow for cross-border access/licensing, the European Union claims the move is a way to protect EU consumers and companies alike. At this point the draft will still need to be approved by the European Commission before anything begins to take flight. The Commission will begin assessing the reports as of next week.

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