Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) have faced their share of scrutiny and scorn in Europe in recent years. It is very little secret that these two companies are the worldwide leaders in data collection with their large user bases and advertising networks. In fact, data collection hand related online privacy has been probably the most passionate debate among European Union leaders and many of the large multinational tech firms such as Google and Facebook.
And in certain countries within the EU, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) have been consistent targets for their data-collection and data-sharing practices as well as their user policies and other information tied to protecting users online. There are some in the EU that think these companies don’t go far enough to protect user information, with one privacy watchdog speaking out that companies like Google and Facebook can be particularly dangerous in terms of privacy because of their “near monopolistic” state within the EU. Those are not our words.
Read them for yourself, from Italy privacy minister Antonio Soro, who wrote in a letter to that country’s parliament that “Google’s search engine, Facebook’s social network, and Amazon’s online retail for conducting business in an near monopolistic fashion” at the expense of those who go online and use their services or websites. “We should not allow personal data to become the property of someone who collects them, and for this reason we must also continue to demand procedural transparency,” Soro continued in his letter.
We don’t know about you, but when it comes to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) or Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and there is talk about “monopoly,” we immediately start to think of antitrust.
Could it be that while these companies might be in compliance with EU privacy laws, that that may not be adequate to rein in the “power” and “influence” of these companies? Could there be a move afoot to consider personal information and data a form of property that companies like Google and Facebook will not longer be allowed to gather in such large quantities as to be considered a monopoly?
And if that is a a new approach, how would parliaments in Europe be able to enforce such a law, when users make their own choices about what sites to use and how much information to provide to a market leader?
What are your thoughts about this increased targeting of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)? Warranted, or over the top? Give us your feedback in the comments section below.