Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) – one of the top stock plays among equity hedge funds we track – has been making news in Europe ad infinitum over various privacy, security and antitrust issues. Google has been working in several countries throughout the European Union – attorneys on one hand, lobbyists on the other – in order to manage its business model around the rather stringent privacy protection and antitrust regulations in the EU. Friday, Google is part of some news coming out of two countries – as it will be called to the carpet in France, and the company celebrates a victory in Germany in the middle of a legislative process.
In the first report, the French National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL) is not very happy with Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), and is reporting that it will ask executives to explain itself as it charges that Google has not followed through on recommended privacy protection policy changes. Last year, Google merged all of its user information databases from its various online web site properties and created a single master database, which French officials say violate its recommended policy changes. By October of last year, the French officials as well as Britain’s information commissioner gave Google four months to change the policy or face legal action. Now, the term “repressive action” is being mentioned. There is no legal dictionary readily available to determine what that means.
Next door, in Germany, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) seems to have sprayed water on copyright law.