Feeds

Oz watchdog accuses Google of misleading public

Organic

The essential guide to IT transformation

The Australian competition watchdog has accused Google of "misleading and deceptive conduct".

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken action against Google Inc, Google Ireland Limited, and Google Australia Pty Ltd in the Federal Court, Sydney, saying Google has breached the Trade Practices Act by failing to adequately distinguish between sponsored links on its website and "organic" search results.

The watchdog said that, in 2005, sponsored links for Newcastle car dealerships Kloster Ford and Charlestown Toyota would also direct users to the site of classified ad magazine Trading Post, a rival in the business.

The ACCC has also taken action against Trading Post.

An ACCC statement says it is seeking declarations from both Google and Trading Post that they breached the Trade Practices Act, as well as an injunction "restraining Google from publishing search results that do not expressly distinguish advertisements from organic search results".

Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reports that Google Australia said it would fight the claims.

"Google Australia believes that these claims are without merit and we will defend against them vigorously," spokesman Rob Shilkin told SMH. "They represent an attack on all search engines and the Australian businesses, large and small, who use them to connect with customers throughout the world."

The ACCC's statement says while Google has faced action in other countries over trademark issues, it is "the first regulatory body to seek legal clarification of Google's conduct from a trade practices perspective". ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.