Google to be probed over alleged privacy breach
MOSCOW, March 12 - RAPSI. The Federal Antimonopoly Service will hold an inspection to determine if Google observes fair competition law and correspondence privacy, the Kommersant daily reported on Tuesday.
The inspection has been initiated upon the request of State Duma Deputy from the United Russia party Ilya Kostunov, who claims that the company ignores Russian law and acts in the interests of US intelligence services. He has accused Google's email service, Gmail, of unfair competition and violating the privacy of Russian citizens' correspondence.
The watchdog will check the legality of the email service's activities shortly.
Kostunov made the request after users complained that Google was analyzing the content of their emails. Gmail tracks user's interests to display context-sensitive advertisements. It is the only such service tracking email content, and this violates the law, Kostunov said.
Unlike European companies, Google falls under the jurisdiction of US intelligence agencies and uses automatic email scanning, he added. Kostunov claimed that the company has admitted that it scans the email correspondence of Russian citizens. By evading Russian law, he supposed, the company has advantages over its rivals.
Google's Russian office has denied the accusations.
The company's representatives said user emails are analyzed automatically with the use of a special algorithm, and no individuals are involved in the process. Google is the world's largest Internet company. Its US GAAP net income rose 15% to $9.74 billion in 2011.