Google Under Investigation For Porting Private Data

( Last Thursday, Italy’s competition authority announced that it had launched an investigation into Google for alleged abuse of its dominant position in data portability. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has denied the allegation.

The Autorita’ Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) alleged in a statement that Google has hindered interoperability with other platforms, especially the Weople app made by Italian-based company Hoda. In doing so, the watchdog said, Google is limiting competition by constraining the “economic benefits that consumers can derive from their data.”

On Wednesday, AGCM along with Italy’s finance police carried out inspections at Google’s Italian premises, the statement said.

According to a spokesperson for Google, the company has been offering users the ability to extract and transfer their data for nearly ten years. The spokesperson said the tools are designed to “help people manage their personal information.” They are not designed to “give other companies or intermediaries access to more data to sell.”

Google argues that giving competitors the access the AGCM wants would put the privacy of users at risk and encourage “fraudulent activities.” The company insists that there are already ways for competitors to “increase direct portability of data in their services.”

If Google is found guilty of the allegations, under Italian law, it could face a fine of up to 10 percent of its annual global sales.