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EU Puts Tech Giants’ Web Behavior Under Microscope

The European Commission is launching an investigation into how online companies like Google and Facebook are behaving on the Web.

The inquiry will be used to determine if there is a need to issue more regulation on the Web, Reuters reported yesterday (Sept. 24).

While there is no evidence that the public consultation will lead to increased regulation of the Internet within the European Union, the inquiry does show the growing scrutiny U.S. tech companies are facing when it comes to issues of privacy.

“Platforms are part of a thriving digital economy, but questions are also raised about their transparency and use of content,” European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip, who leads the charge on digital issues, told Reuters.

According to Reuters, the Commission’s 46-page questionnaire includes questions for both individuals and companies pertaining to the transparency of platforms used to collect and use data.

The Commission is also asking owners of copyrighted works if “an online platform, such as a video sharing website or a content aggregator, refuses to enter into or negotiate licensing agreements with me,” referring to services like Google’s YouTube, Reuters confirmed.

But the tech industry is holding strong against any push to institute Web regulation.

“If there are problems, someone will need to be more precise about what exactly they are and why they can’t be dealt with under existing law, such as competition, consumer and privacy law,” James Waterworth, Europe vice president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, which represents tech giants such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft, explained to Reuters.

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