Germany to Treat Google Like a Public Utility?

google-germany-reunification-doodle-2008German officials are reportedly planning to clip the wings of technology giants such as Google through heavier regulation.

The country's Federal Cartel Office would be given powers to curtail Google's influence, were it decided that it had got too big for its boots, according to a report from the Sunday Times.

A document obtained by the newspaper says that under the new rules, technology companies would be treated and regulated like public utilities such as electricity and water and subject to the same anti-competitive pricing laws governing their advertising.

Proposals to legislate the internet as a utility are at the heart of the debate that's underway in the U.S. right now, where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is coming under increasing pressure to classify ISPs as "Title II" utilities in order to protect net neutrality.

In Europe, a commitment to net neutrality is already in place, and any German legislation would only serve to further solidify the country's commitment to avoiding technology strangleholds.

Full details of the 30-page document are yet to be released, with varying reports of its potential impact, ranging from "last resort" to "all out regulation".

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.

About the author

Chris Merriman is a freelance technology journalist. He graduated from the University of Sunderland a very long time ago. He got his first smartphone in 2003 and his first soldering iron in 1989. Before joining The INQUIRER, he divided his time between managing social media campaigns, music and tech journalism, radio presenting and DJing in London's glittering West End. His love of all things tech is inherited from his grandfather, who worked on NASA's Apollo program and used to keep discarded rocket prototypes in the garage to cannibalise for odd jobs round the house. Chris writes for technology publications including V3 and The INQUIRER.