Italian watchdog accepts Google’s commitments and ends investigation on data portability

Italian authorities accept Google’s proposed changes regarding data portability, ending an investigation into alleged abuse of market dominance. The case stemmed from concerns over hindering data portability rights under GDPR, with a complaint from a local company. Google’s adjustments include simplifying data extraction and developing a tool for digital service operators to access personal data from Alphabet services. This resolution pleased the watchdog, leading to the closure of the investigation.

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Google has reason to celebrate as Italy’s Autorita’ Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) has accepted commitments proposed by the tech giant to end a case over its alleged abuse of its dominant position in the user data portability market. This comes amidst a plethora of antitrust actions facing the company worldwide.

Last year, Italy’s competition watchdog initiated an investigation into Google over concerns that it had hindered data portability rights under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), following a complaint by a local company called Hoda, which owned the operator of a direct marketing platform called Weople. The app encourages users to link third-party accounts to port personal data into a “digital vault” where it can be used to target them with personalized offers. Hoda had complained that Google’s data portability offer, also known as Takeout, was overly complicated and discouraged users from transferring their data to other services. Thus, Italy’s watchdog started investigating whether Google’s conduct could limit the ability of alternative operators to develop innovative data-based services and compress the right to portability of personal data.

Google proposed changes to its data backup service to allow users to extract their personal data more easily. The company also plans to release a tool next year that will enable other digital service operators to access personal data generated through Alphabet services. The authority being satisfied with these proposed commitments, has now dropped its investigation.