Google confirms investigations by two more countries

Steven Loeb · April 28, 2012 · Short URL:

Argentina and South Korea are probing whether Google used its power to block competition

Google has revealed that it's now the targets of regulators in two more countries, only a day after the FTC hired a new prosecutor to investigate the search giant.

Mountain View, California-based Google is currently under investigation by agencies in both Argentina and South Korea, it confirmed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Both Argentina’s Comision Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia and the Korea Fair Trade Commission in South Korea have also opened an investigation into certain business practices,” the filing reads.

This comes a day after the Federal Trade Commission hired outside counsel to investigate the company for possible abuses in its practices.

The prosecutor, Beth Wilkinson, was the lead prosecutor on the team that convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Google told VatorNews that "the Argentinian Competition Commission notified us that they are conducting a preliminary inquiry into our search and search advertising services, and we are of course happy to answer their questions."

In regards to the probe in South Korea, Google said it “is an ongoing inquiry that started last year and we continue to cooperate with regulators.

"Because competition on the Internet is just one click away and since using Google is a choice, we work hard to put our users’ interests first."

In September 2011, South Korean authorities raided Google headquarters in Seoul, investigating whether Google had limited user access to other search engines on its Android phones. In January, South Korea accused Google of obstructing an investigation and threatened to levy fines at the company.

Argentina began investigating Google in 2010, to find out if Google's position was having a negative effect on competition.

These investigations into Google follow a series of lawsuits and setbacks for the company.

Last week, Google was admonished by a German court, which ordered that it do more to stop users from uploading copyrighted material onto YouTube. And earlier this month it was fined $25,000 by the FCC for impeding an investigation into whether it had violated the law by collecting private information from unprotected Wi-Fi networks for its Street View project.

On top of that, it was recently taken to court in Spain over a man who is suing to have his private information removed from their website, and was accused by France of making its privacy laws too complicated.

Korea Fair Trade Commission and the Argentinian Competition Commission did not respond for comment.

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