EU probe increases scrutiny of Google’s leading role brokering digital ads across the internet
The European Union opened a formal antitrust investigation into allegations that Google abuses its leading role in the advertising-technology sector, the most wide-ranging case yet to look at that pillar of the tech giant’s business.
The European Commission, the EU’s top antitrust enforcer, said Tuesday that its investigation, which has been under way informally since at least 2019, will look at a broad array of allegedly anticompetitive business practices around the Alphabet Inc. GOOG +0.55% unit’s brokering of advertisements and sharing of user data with advertisers across websites and mobile apps—one of the newest areas of antitrust scrutiny for the company.
Some of the EU’s investigation will cover similar ground to a case filed last year against Google by a group of U.S. states led by Texas. Similar areas include Google’s allegedly favoring its own ad-buying tools in the advertising auctions it runs.
But the EU probe will also cover complaints that haven’t yet been the subject of formal inquiries anywhere, including Google’s alleged exclusion of competitors from brokering ad buys on Google-owned video site YouTube.
Commission secures antitrust review after talks with Justice Department, and as Amazon critic Lina Khan takes the FTC’s helm
WASHINGTON—The Federal Trade Commission will be the agency to review Amazon. AMZN +1.97% com Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Hollywood studio MGM, according to people familiar with the matter, just as the commission gets a new chairwoman who has been critical of the online giant’s expansion.
Amazon last month announced its deal for MGM, which would boost its Prime Video streaming platform in a market that includes rivals such as Netflix Inc. and Walt Disney Co. MGM has a library of more than 4,000 films, including the James Bond franchise, and a television catalog that includes “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Vikings.”
Companies doing sizable mergers have to submit their deals for government antitrust review. The FTC shares antitrust authority with the Justice Department, and the two agencies split up the work of reviewing proposed deals. The department has recently reviewed transactions involving video content, including Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox and AT&T Inc.’s acquisition of Time Warner, a deal the department unsuccessfully attempted to block in court.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — When U.S. law enforcement officials need to cast a wide net for information, they’re increasingly turning to the vast digital ponds of personal data created by Big Tech companies via the devices and online services that have hooked billions of people around the world.
Data compiled by four of the biggest tech companies shows that law enforcement requests for user information — phone calls, emails, texts, photos, shopping histories, driving routes and more — have more than tripled in the U.S. since 2015. Police are also increasingly savvy about covering their tracks so as not to alert suspects of their interest.