Australian Lawmakers Refuse to Blink After Google Threats

Noogler Hat for new Google employees
Flickr/ banky177

Australia’s Parliament will reportedly debate making Google and Facebook pay for news after a committee recently recommended no changes to drafts of proposed laws.

AP News reports that Australia’s Parliament is set to debate forcing Google and Facebook to pay news publishers for their content after a Senate committee on Friday recommended no changes to drafts of laws that would force the tech giants to compensate publishers. The bill has been scrutinized by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee since it was introduced in Parliament in December.

The senators rejected arguments from Facebook and Google that the proposed “media bargaining code” was unworkable. But the committee further recognized that the legislation carried risks and should be reviewed after a year.

The report stated: “The committee accepts that there remains the possibility that not all risks have been taken into account, and that further refinement may be needed to the arbitration mechanism and other parts of the code so that they work in an optimum manner.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stated that his department would review the law a year after it took effect to “ensure it is delivering outcomes that are consistent with the government’s policy intent.”

Frydenberg added: “The government expects all parties to continue to work constructively towards reaching commercial agreements in the spirit of collaboration and good faith encouraged by the code.”

Parliament is scheduled to consider the bill on Tuesday in the hopes that it will be approved during the next two-week sitting.

Google Director Lucinda Longcroft commented on the situation stating: “We look forward to engaging with policymakers through the parliamentary process to address our concerns and achieve a code that works for everyone — publishers, digital platforms, and Australian businesses and users.”

Breitbart News previously reported that Google has threatened to withdraw its services from Australia if the bill was passed, which prompted Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to reply: “We don’t respond to threats. 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.”

Rival tech giant Microsoft has since offered its Bing search engine to Australia to fill the gap that would be left if Google were to cut off services to the country.

Bloomberg News recently spoke to an Australian software-engineering student, Patrick Smith, a 24-year-old from Canberra. Smith stated that he often racks up 400 Google searches a day while studying and that his browser from the previous day shows 150 searches in just five hours.

“The prospect of Google search disappearing is frightening at best,” Smith said. “It’s quite reflexive of me to Google something, anything, that I’m even mildly not sure of.”
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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