Reuters is reporting that European Union (EU) antitrust regulators are asking to look at documents detailing Google’s data collection practices.
The EU has already levied hefty fines against Google in past cases, amounting to $8.8 billion in the last two years. The judgements were the result of investigations proving Google had violated antitrust rules by using its dominance unfairly. If the current set of questions are any indication, Google may be facing yet more punishment.
According to Reuters, the regulators sent questionnaires to a number of different companies. The companies were given a month to reply and provide information on Google’s data collection policies. Regulators were interested specifically in online advertising, local search, web browsers, online ad targeting, login services and more.
“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.”
Whether anything will come of this new inquiry remains to be seen. Given the current climate, however, Google would do well to try to allay any concerns the EU has.