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Australia Eyes Its Own Case Against Google After DOJ Files Landmark Lawsuit

Australia’s competition watchdog will consider its own antitrust case against Google, the commission chairman said Wednesday after the U.S. Justice Department sued the company for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising.

Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims described the U.S. case filed Tuesday as one of the world’s biggest antitrust cases in the past 20 years.

“I’m delighted the D.o.J.’s taking it on and we’ll follow it really closely,” Sims told the National Press Club, referring to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“We’re going to look at it and see whether there’s any value in what we might do,” Sims added.

Sims said his commission “had a lot of talk” with the U.S. Justice Department before he released a report in July last year that recommended more government regulation on the market power of Google and Facebook that would ensure fair deals for other media businesses and more control for individuals over how their data was used.

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Sims’ commission launched Australian court action against Google in July alleging the tech giant misled account holders about its use of their personal data.

The commission alleges Google misled millions of Australians to obtain their consent and expand the scope of personal information that Google collects about users’ internet activity to target advertising. Google denies the allegations.

In October last year, the commission sued Google in an Australian court alleging the company broke consumer law by misleading Android users about how their location data was collected and used.

That case will be heard by the Federal Court next month. Google also denies that allegation.

Do you support the Justice Department's lawsuit against Google?

Separately, Sims said Google was lobbying “every politician at Parliament House” ahead of legislation being introduced to make it pay for news.

Google has said the proposed law would result in “dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube,” put free services at risk and could lead to users’ data “being handed over to big news businesses.”

Facebook has warned it might block Australian news content rather than pay for it.


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