Lawmakers Concerned About EP Search Engine Resolution

Say it Would be Wrong Way to Promote Competition

Some U.S. lawmakers representing districts with large tech company presence, are concerned about reports of a pending European Parliament (EP) resolution proposing that relevant companies spin off their search engine business in Europe from other operations as a way to promote more search engine competition.

The resolution reportedly does not mention Google, though as a dominant search engine it is clearly one of those relevant companies.

In a bipartisan letter to the parliament dated Nov. 25, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Communications Subcommittee (Google is based in her district)( and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) led a group of 10 legislators in saying they had "great concern" over what they said would be "deter[ring] continued innovation and investment from U.S.-based Internet companies."

The letter says "it is troubling to us that the European Parliament is suggesting an action that would stem cross-border data flows at the expense of millions of people across Europe who enjoy the use of these online services every day. We support healthy competition and a fair playing field for Internet companies in the U.S. and around the globe and we believe these goals can be accomplished through the traditional regulatory process."

They also point out the impact of e-mail, social media and search, what they label "online intermediaries," many of them U.S.-based, on the EU GDP, an impact they say tops $500 billion.