Google threatens to halt 'search' feature in Australia over new media payment law; PM reacts

WION Web Team
Melbourne, Australia Published: Jan 22, 2021, 07:46 AM(IST)

Google Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The decision was Google has not pleased the Senate as they feel this is almost like China threatening Australia's trade as a tit-for-tat against coronavirus

As Australia is thinking of negotiating payments for news media companies, the search engine Google has threatened to remove its search engine in the country if the code is introduced.

Google believes the proposal by the Australian government sets a "dangerous precedent" as the code will be hiding — or worse, removing — news websites from search results of Australian locals in order to push news outlets to pay in order to be able to link news articles in search results.

However, this decision has not gone well with the search engines, especially Google. The internet giant has decided to pull down the entire function from Australia, under a sign of protest and disagreement with this decision.

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"The principle of unrestricted linking between websites is fundamental to search and coupled with the unmanageable financial and operational risk is this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia", said Mel Silva, Google's managing director.

She also added that while this is not a favourable move, the company is not left with much choice. "Withdrawing our services from Australia is the last thing that Google want to have happen, especially when there is another way forward," Silva said.

Google has also claimed that while they are thinking of taking this decision, the company is ready to strike deals with media companies and has already struck nearly 450 deals with a few media companies.

The decision was Google has not pleased the Senate as they feel this is almost like China threatening Australia's trade as a tit-for-tat against coronavirus. "It’s about breaking your bank account, that’s what this is about," said independent senator Rex Patrick. "It does not touch the internet and the way in which it works."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in response to Google's statement, said, "Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our parliament. It’s done by our government. And that’s how things work here in Australia." 

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