Technology

Where are the investigations on Gafam in France and in the European Union?

Google

In France : currently, no investigation is carried out by the French authorities. Note that in one year, Google was sentenced to 720 million euros by the Competition Authority in two separate disputes, one in the online advertising market and the other for non-compliance. several injunctions concerning the remuneration of neighboring rights of publishers and press agencies.

In the European Union:

– The European Commission opened an investigation on June 22, 2021 into possible anti-competitive behavior in the online advertising industry. She wants to determine whether the Mountain View firm has broken EU rules by promoting its own online display advertising technology services to the detriment of competing advertising technology service providers, advertisers and online publishers. . In particular, the investigation will examine whether Google distorts competition by restricting third-party access to user data for advertising purposes on websites and applications, while reserving this data for its own use. If proven, the practices could constitute infringements of Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union on agreements between companies and abuse of a dominant position. No legal deadline is foreseen for the closing of this investigation.

– In December 2020, several European privacy organizations filed complaints against Google and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), a professional organization that brings together 650 internet advertising players, to six data protection authorities of the EU. These procedures are carried out by Asociatia pentru Tehnologie si Internet (ApTi) in Romania, J3 – Defesa dos Direitos Digitais in Portugal, GONG in Croatia, the World Foundation for Human Dignity in Malta, Homo Digitalis in Greece and the Cyprus Information Institute. They are coordinated by a consortium led by the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, the Open Rights Group and the Panoptykon Foundation. These organizations claim that the use of “Real Time Bidding” (RTB) by these companies violates the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

– The European Commission launched a survey on July 16, 2020 on the consumer goods and services sector linked to the Internet of Things. Google is cited among the “vertically integrated” companies that have built their own ecosystems and thus determine the processes of integration into “smart” devices and services. Brussels plans to publish the final report in the first half of 2022.


In the rest of the world : Google faces numerous procedures in the United States but also in the United Kingdom where the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating the deletion of third-party cookies. The German gendarme of the competition has for its part opened a procedure on Google News Showcase, a platform published by Google allowing the editors of press titles to choose the articles they wish to put in advance by adding, of their choice, articles related, images… to increase the visibility of their content.

Amazon

In France : currently, no investigation is carried out by the French authorities.

In the European Union:

– The European Commission opened an in-depth investigation in July 2019 into Amazon’s use of non-public data from third-party marketplace sellers. In November 2020, it extended this procedure to the “Buy Box” and the Prime label in order to verify that the practices of the American e-commerce giant do not violate European competition law.

– The European Commission launched a survey on July 16, 2020 on the consumer goods and services sector linked to the Internet of Things. Amazon is cited among the “vertically integrated” companies that have built their own ecosystems and thus determine the integration processes in “smart” devices and services. Brussels plans to publish the final report in the first half of 2022.


In the rest of the world : In the United States, the Washington prosecutor has launched proceedings against Amazon for abuse of dominant position. The e-commerce giant is accused of artificially inflating prices online. Attorneys general for Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are also reportedly looking into the company’s behavior.

Facebook

In France :

– In October 2019, the French retargeting company Criteo announced that it had filed a complaint against Facebook with the Competition Authority. She believes that “the gradual exclusion of companies from the Facebook platform has harmed the diversity of the online advertising industry.” This procedure results from the exclusion of Criteo from the “Facebook Marketing Partner” program a year earlier. Last May, Facebook presented a series of commitments, such as the preservation of objectivity, clarity and non-discriminatory application of FMP AdTech performance criteria, the monitoring of compliance training by its teams sales and the development and provision of a “recommendation functionality” to FMP AdTech partners.

– Facebook is also accused by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) of allowing “hateful and threatening” content to proliferate on its social network. The association filed a complaint with the public prosecutor of Paris for “deceptive commercial practices”.


In the European Union:

– The European Commission has just opened an investigation into Facebook’s proposed acquisition of Kustomer, an American start-up specializing in customer relations. It is concerned that this transaction will reduce competition in the market for the provision of customer relationship management software. She now has 90 days, until December 22, 2021, to make a decision.

– Brussels also opened a formal examination procedure on June 4 on Facebook Marketplace, the buying and selling service between individuals. She wants to determine whether Facebook has violated European competition rules by using advertising data collected from advertisers in order to compete with them in markets where it is present, such as that of online ads.

– In the coming months, the Court of Justice of the European Union should examine the legality of the processing of personal data of Internet users by Facebook. This request was made by the Austrian Supreme Court at the request of the activist Max Schrems, president of the association None of your busines (Noyb) specializing in the defense of digital rights which is already at the origin of numerous proceedings against the social network. .

– European justice must decide a question of interpretation of the GDPR on the sharing of users’ personal data between Facebook and its subsidiaries, Instagram and WhatsApp. It was the Provincial Court of Düsseldorf in Germany which asked the Court of Justice of the European Union to rule on this issue.

– The Data Protection Commission (DPC), the data protection authority in Ireland, has to make a decision on the legality of data sharing between WhatsApp and Facebook. At the request of the European institutions, the Irish authority is also investigating the data leak concerning 533 million people.

In the rest of the world : Facebook has to face numerous procedures in Europe and the United States. The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating Facebook’s antitrust position in the social media and online advertising sectors. It is also investigating the takeover by Facebook of Giphy, the search, hosting and sharing platform for moving images. In Germany, it is the obligation to have a Facebook account to use an Oculus headset that raises concerns.

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which monitors compliance with competition law, has filed a complaint against Facebook. 48 public prosecutors have also initiated proceedings. Although separate, the actions pursue the same objective: to call into question the takeover of Instagram and WhatsApp by the American company

Apple

In France : the France Digitale association, which represents more than 1,800 digital start-ups and investors, has filed a complaint against Apple with the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (Cnil). She believes that the American company violates the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by forcing targeted advertising on people without their consent.

In the European Union:

The European Commission has opened two investigations on the App Store and Apple Pay. The first procedure follows a complaint filed by the Swedish company Spotify in March 2019. Brussels fears that the clauses imposed by the American company in its agreements with companies wishing to distribute applications through its store will harm competition.

The second investigation examines the terms, conditions and other measures imposed by Apple for the integration of Apple Pay into commercial applications and commercial websites on iPhones and iPads, and the limitation imposed by Apple on access to the near-field communication (NFC) functionality known as “tap and go” on iPhones for in-store payments and on alleged denials of access to Apple Pay.

– The European Commission launched a survey on July 16, 2020 on the consumer goods and services sector linked to the Internet of Things. Apple is cited among the “vertically integrated” companies that have built their own ecosystems and thus determine the integration processes in “intelligent” devices and services. Brussels plans to publish the final report in the first half of 2022.

In the rest of the world : The App Store is also in the sights of the British Competition Authority. She wants to look in particular at the 30% commission levied by the American company from developers on income generated through payments from smartphones.

Microsoft

In France : currently, no investigation is carried out by the French authorities.

In the European Union: Slack lodged a complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission last July. The group chat software publisher accuses the American giant of abusing its dominant position by combining Teams with its Office suite.

Microsoft has been convicted on several occasions for anti-competitive practices. His last sentence dates from 2013 when he was sentenced by the European Commission to a fine of 560 million euros for having favored his web browser, Internet Explorer, to the detriment of those of his competitors.

In the rest of the world : Italy’s personal data gendarme is investigating a personal data leak from LinkedIn accounts owned by Microsoft. The files contain phone numbers and usernames and are said to involve 500 million people.

Back to top button