United States-based internet giant Google has criticised proposed Australian antitrust laws, saying its free search service would be “at risk” and users’ personal data could be shared if it is made to pay news organisations for their content.
The Alphabet-owned company said the proposed laws would also help big media companies artificially inflate their search rankings, luring more viewers to their platforms and giving them an unfair advantage over small publishers and users of Google’s YouTube streaming website.
The statement, advertised on Google’s main search page, marks an escalation of tensions between big tech companies and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which has called for sweeping changes to rein in how Google and social media titan Facebook Inc use local content and consumer data.
“You’ve always relied on Google Search and YouTube to show you what’s most relevant and helpful to you,” Google Australia Managing Director Mel Silva wrote in the open letter. “We could no longer guarantee that under this law.”
The proposed law “wouldn’t just impact the way Google and YouTube work with news media businesses – it would impact all of our Australian users” she wrote.
The proposal to force technology firms to pay traditional media for content is the first of its sort anywhere in the world.