EUROPE TARGETS U.S. WEB FIRMS
France, Germany want to Expand Regulation of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon
(The Wall Street Journal, Page One, November 28, 2014) (PDF of Page One & jump; link)
By SAM SCHECHNER
Europe escalated its war against U.S. technology superpowers as the Continent’s two largest economies and the European Parliament on Thursday backed fresh efforts to rein in the growing influence of companies such as Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google Inc.
France and Germany asked the European Union to look into new competition rules and other regulations that better target the business practices of large technology firms. At the same time, the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved a resolution that calls for a possible breakup of Google.
The moves came a day afterEurope’s privacy regulators asked Google and others to extend the EU’s new “right to be forgotten” to their websites outside Europe and follows a push by U.K. lawmakers to have social-media firms do more to comb their services for extremist content.
Apple, Facebook and Google declined to comment.
European authorities increasingly have chafed at the dominance of U.S. Internet firms in their markets. These Silicon Valley companies have huge revenue and global reach, but officials say they pay relatively little in corporate income taxes and slip beyond the reach of some national regulations.
“Internet companies are disrupting the hierarchy of governance,” said James Waterworth, head of the European office for Computer & Communications Industry Association, a U.S.-based trade group. “National governments can’t keep up with them …