Google has responded to allegations contained in a recently unsealed US antitrust lawsuit that it worked covertly to stall European Union privacy legislation that could have blasted a huge hole in its behaviorial advertising business.
Per the US states’ suit, a couple of years after a European Commission proposal to update the EU’s ePrivacy Directive — to replace it with a more widely applicable Regulation — the tech giant was privately celebrating what it described as a “successful” tilt at “slowing down and delaying” the privacy legislation.
The update to the EU’s privacy rules around people’s electronics communications (and plenty more besides) remains stalled even now, with negotiations technically ‘continuing’ — just without any agreement in sight. So Google’s ‘success’ looks overwhelming.
That said, the adtech giant can’t take all the credit: The US states’ case against Google quotes an internal memo from July 2019 — in which it claims to have been “working behind the scenes hand in hand” with the other four of the ‘big five’ tech giants (GAFAM) to forestall consumer privacy efforts.
Here’s the relevant allegation from the antitrust case against Google:
“(b) Google secretly met with competitors to discuss competition and forestall consumer privacy efforts. The manner in which Google has actively worked with Big Tech competitors to undermine users’ privacy further illustrates Google’s pretextual privacy…