Competitors Ask EU to Rein In Google
Today in international tech news: None too pleased with the dawdling pace of an antitrust investigation, a handful of companies complain to the European Union about Google's dominance. Also: The New Zealand intelligence agency that flubbed its Kim Dotcom investigation apparently has other problems; and a British hacker linked with Lulzsec pleads guilty.
Microsoft and Nokia are part of the coalition of companies that filed a complaint with EU antitrust regulators claiming that Google is using its Android mobile operating system to promote its own products and services.
Made public Tuesday by lobbying group FairSearch, the action comes as European regulators are reportedly near a settlement with Google over concerns that it has abused its search dominance.
More than a dozen companies have complained to the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, about Google's practices. The EU's competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, has said he anticipates reaching a settlement sometime during 2013.
However, the recent complaint pressed by Nokia and Microsoft suggests frustration over the pace of the investigation and settlement.
In addition to engaging in search shenanigans, competitors believe Google is using Android to divert traffic to its own search engine. Google is using its Android operating system as a "'Trojan Horse' to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data," FairSearch claims.
The EC decline to comment; Google said it was working with regulators.
Kim Dotcom Investigators May Have Flubbed Other Cases
The New Zealand intelligence agency that was called out for illegally spying on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom -- prompting an apology from the prime minister -- may have abused its powers in dozens of other cases, according to an official report.
John Key, the apologetic PM, said that the recent report was "sobering reading." He ordered the review into the Government Communications Security Bureau last September.
The GCSB was integral in the arrest of Dotcom in early 2012. However, the investigative body is legally authorized only to investigate non-residents. While Dotcom is originally from Germany, he had obtained New Zealand residence -- as well as New Zealand's most expensive home -- prior to the agency's probe.
The 85-page report unearthed 88 instances of New Zealand citizens or residents being illegally spied on.
Dotcom netted some US$175 million from Megaupload, and cost U.S. copyright owners $500 million in the process, U.S. authorities have claimed. Dotcom celebrated the anniversary of his arrest by launching Mega, a successor to Megaupload.
There was a bit of a snafu out of the gates when the original domain name, "me.ga," was vetoed by Gabon, which owns the .ga domain.
26-Year-Old British Hacker Pleads Guilty
Ryan Ackroyd, a 26-year-old from the British city of South Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to one count of computer hacking.
Ackroyd admitted to being part of Lulzsec, a hacker collective that has targeted numerous British entities such as the National Health Service and Serious Organized Crime Agency.
The plea will allow him to avoid trial on another count of executing a denial of service attack, or DDoS.
Ackroyd and three others facing similar charges will be sentenced in May. Two of the others, 18 and 20, have pleaded guilty to hacking and launching cyberattacks, and the third, 21, pleaded guilty nearly a year ago to hacking into U.S. Air Force computers at the Pentagon.