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Why Google should leave Europe

Mike Elgan | Dec. 15, 2014
The company is under relentless attack by European authorities who won't stop until they do real damage.

The right to be forgotten is a weird brand of censorship. It illegalizes links to legal content.

A search engine is not supposed to be an accurate reflection of "the truth." It's supposed to be an accurate reflection of what's on the Internet. Europe's right to be forgotten makes it deliberately less accurate.

Google said more than 174,000 people have already petitioned for the removal of more than 600,000 search results, and it has culled more than a quarter million of them.

That European regulators wanted to damage Google Search in Europe through censorship is bad enough. But now they're aiming for something truly dangerous.

Regulators agreed last month on a new set of guidelines that would require Google to apply the right-to-be-forgotten censorship worldwide.

That would be the first time in history a European government would impose censorship on a company in the United States.

This would obviously set a precedent whereby every censoring government will demand equal treatment. Sliding down this slippery slope, Google would censor the Google.com that you and I use according to the censorhip of China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Syria, Tunisia and Vietnam. Links to the Dalai Lama or historical events like Tiananmen Square would be erased. Pictures of women with their hair un-covered would be banned. And so on.

Searching for an excuse to damage Google
European regulators have been investigating and harassing Google for four years over antitrust issues. The company is facing an absurdly large fine of $6 billion if found guilty of the accusations that it favored its own services in search results over those from European competitors. (The claim was studied and rejected by U.S. authorities.)

Europe is also considering a formal investigation into Android for antitrust issues, based on the idea that Android may be discriminating against apps not made by Google. In late November, the European Parliament passed a nonbinding resolution to break up Google into multiple companies. And Google is constantly harassed and penalized in Germany, France, Spain and elsewhere in Europe over numerous tax, privacy and other issues.

Meanwhile, Google is more popular among the European public than any other region in the world. The company has higher than 90% market share in Europe simply because users there prefer it over alternatives. (The company has less than 68% market share in the U.S.)

So European corporations and the politicians they lobby are out to destroy Google even as the European public loves Google.

To summarize, you have government obsessively and shamelessly pushing unfair protectionism under the guise of various righteous bureaucratic causes and hammering away with censorship, fines, threats, bans and constant harassment.

Sound familiar?

 

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