US lawmakers protest European plan to break up Google
More than a dozen members of Congress are outraged at a plan in Europe that threatens to split up Google.
Key lawmakers sent multiple letters Tuesday to members of the European Parliament expressing “great concern” at the nonbinding plan to force Google to break off its search engine services from the rest of the company.
If the European Union followed through on it, the proposal “would stem cross-border data flows at the expense of millions of people across Europe who enjoy the use of these online services every day,” a dozen lawmakers wrote in one letter, noting that U.S. companies have invested about $2.1 trillion in Europe.
“We support healthy competition and a fair playing field for Internet companies in the U.S. and around the globe and we believe these goals can be accomplished through the traditional regulatory process,” wrote Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and either other lawmakers.
In a separate letter, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) told Europeans that the policy seemed ‘to be motivated by politics, rather than grounded in factual and legal principles.”
“We believe that antitrust enforcement should be applied independent of politics and firmly rooted in our shared and international principles,” he added.
The lawmakers are protesting a plan to break up the company that is heading to the European Parliament this week. Though the proposal is nonbinding, it would certainly increase pressure on European regulators and heighten tensions that are already running high in the wake of revelations about U.S. surveillance and friction over U.S. and EU treatment of privacy.
Google has come under increasing scrutiny from European regulators who are concerned that it may violate antitrust laws by unfairly promoting its own services in search results over those of other companies. So far, the search engine giant has avoided any formal charges.
The tech industry has already expressed concerns about the pending European proposal. One top trade group operating in both the U.S. and Europe has warned that the measure seemed blatantly political.
The European Parliament is expected to vote on the plan on Thursday.
This story was updated at 5:06 p.m.