EU

On Friday we reported that the European parliament is threatening to break up Google. More precisely, it is likely to approve a draft motion calling for the European Commission to consider the “unbundling” of search engines from other commercial services as one possible solution to Google’s dominance.

But would this even work in practice? The short answer is, it’s not clear.

The German MEP Andreas Schwab, a long-time Google critic who is sponsoring the draft motion, told the FT that the practicalities had still to be looked at. Read more

So this is it. Google’s revised offer to settle the European Commission probe into its search business has been described extensively in the press. But the actual text and screenshots of how new Google searches will look under the proposal were not published, much to the annoyance of the complainants asked for confidential feedback. One of the parties has decided to revolt and set the documents free. We’re publishing them here in full.

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Richard Waters

There has been no shortage of calls recently for European regulators to drag Google’s controversial new data privacy policies into their anti-trust investigation of the company. But with settlement talks at an advanced stage, we hear this one isn’t going anywhere – at least, not in this round of Google v the EU. Read more

Maija Palmer

Getty Images

One thing Facebook’s IPO filing documents make clear is that the company is taking privacy risks seriously. Privacy is mentioned 35 times, mainly as a risk factor.

The company acknowledges that media coverage of privacy lapses, for example, could affect profits. Read more

Maija Palmer

EU flagFrankly, I am becoming less convinced that Europe is capable of winning the war against cyber-attacks. Ever since a series of online attacks paralysed Estonia in 2007, protection against internet crime and terrorism has moved up the agenda for the European Commission, NATO and individual European countries. But it is unclear whether any real progress has been made in the last three years.  

The UK’s House of Lords will on Thursday publish its study into how well Europe protects itself online. The conclusion is that there are serious concerns about co-ordination between different member states and a real risk that less well prepared countries could compromise those, like the UK, which are relatively advanced in their cyber protection measures. Not very surprising conclusions perhaps.

But the detail of the report highlights some farcical aspects. Read more

Maija Palmer

Intel logoIntel has come out fighting, after being slapped with a record €1.06bn fine by the EU for anti-competitive practices. Paul Otellini, chief executive, responded almost instantly with a statement that Intel planned to appeal.

“Intel takes strong exception to this decision,” he said. So the Brussels lawyers and the computer industry can now look forward to a protracted battle before there is any sort of finality to this.

The fine is certainly enormous, dwarfing even the sums Microsoft has had to pay. However, it’s not clear how much this ruling will really change. Read more