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Alphabet agrees to change user data practices to end a German antitrust case

Google has announced that they will change their deal with user data and update their user data practices in the EU.

According to the German cartel office, Google has taken this decision to end a German antitrust investigation that was aimed at curbing its data-driven market power.

The German antitrust watchdog issued a charge sheet known as a statement of objections to Google over its data processing terms, saying that users were not given sufficient choice as to whether and to what extent they agreed to the far-reaching processing of their data across the company’s services.

Tech giants rely on selling targeted advertising based on the massive amounts of data they gather about users, a lucrative business model now in regulators’ crosshairs worldwide.

The German regulator said Google’s commitments would give users more choice on how their data is used across the company’s platforms.

“In the future, users of Google services will have a much better choice as to what happens to their data, how Google can use them, and whether their data may be used across services,” Andreas Mundt, president of the cartel office, said in a statement.

“This not only protects the users’ right to determine the use of their data but also curbs Google’s data-driven market power,” he said.

Google’s commitment covers over 25 other services, including Gmail, Google News, Assistant, Contacts, and Google TV.

It does not apply to Google Shopping, Google Play, Google Maps, Google Search, YouTube, Google Android, Google Chrome, and Google’s online advertising services, all subject to a new EU legislation called the Digital Markets Act, which has similar obligations.

The German competition authority has ramped up its scrutiny of Big Tech since it acquired sweeping powers called Section 19a GWB in 2021, allowing it to investigate and ban certain types of practices by companies considered to have paramount significance and cross-market power.

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