The EU executive said it was seeking information on how and why Alphabet unit Google is collecting data, confirming a Reuters story on Friday. “The Commission has sent out questionnaires as part of a preliminary investigation into Google’s practices relating to Google’s collection and use of data. The preliminary investigation is ongoing,” the EU regulator told Reuters in an email. A document seen by Reuters shows the EU’s focus is on data related to local search services, online advertising, online ad targeting services, login services, web browsers and others.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has handed down fines totalling more than 8 billion euros to Google in the last two years and ordered it to change its business practices. Google has said it uses data to better its services and that users can manage, delete and transfer their data at any time.
She said Google was being punished for "illegal practices in search advertising brokering to cement its dominant market position." She added: "They shouldn't do that — it denied consumers choice, innovative products, and fair prices." Specifically, Vestager's team concluded that third-party websites — such as newspapers and travel sites — that used Google to power their search and advertising features had "restrictive clauses in contracts" preventing them from hosting ads from rival search engines, according to a press release .
(This story has been refiled to fix spelling in first paragraph to sights, not sites.)Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Hugh LawsonOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.