Google is warning that Australians’ personal information could be “at risk” if the digital giant has to pay for news content.
A proposed law would require firms like Google and Facebook to pay Australian news organizations for the content that appears on their websites. The law was drafted last month after months of negotiations between the Australian government and the two tech giants broke down.
In an open letter posted online Monday, Melanie Silva, Google’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand, said Australians’ personal data could be turned over to big media firms if the law is enacted, which would help them automatically inflate their search ranking.
Silva also said the law would make such free services such as Google Search and YouTube “dramatically worse” and could lead to Australians paying for such services.
Rod Sims, the chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, dismissed Google’s claims as “misinformation.” He said the proposed law does not require Google to turn over user’s personal information, or charge for its search services.
The open letter was published as Australian regulators begin the last week of gathering public consultations and comments on the proposed law.
Australian media companies have seen their advertising revenue increasingly siphoned off by firms like Google and Facebook in recent years.