Google is facing two lawsuits that could see the tech giant pay up to ~$25bn (£19.5bn) in damages over its digital advertising practices. The BBC reports: The company is accused of anti-competitive behavior and abuse of its dominant position in the advertising technology market. Separate lawsuits in the UK and the Netherlands will be filed in the coming weeks on behalf of publishers seeking “compensation” from Google. […] The European Commission and its equivalent in the UK are investigating whether Google’s dominance of ad technology gives it an unfair advantage over competitors and advertisers. Last year, the French competition agency fined the company 220 million euros. Jonny Ryan of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties told the BBC: “Google is under pressure on two major issues – one is antitrust and the other is data protection.” Mr Ryan said more cases were emerging as competition authorities around the world were “increasingly making demands on Google”. But he added that “the fines we’ve seen so far from competition authorities have had absolutely no consequences.”
Damien Geradin of the Belgian law firm Geradin Partners, which is involved in the Dutch case, said: “Publishers, including local and national media, which play an important role in our society, have long suffered from anti-competitive behaviour. It’s time for Google to take responsibility and pay for the damage done to this important industry. That is why today we are announcing these actions in two jurisdictions to seek compensation for EU and UK publishers.”
A British lawsuit in the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal will seek compensation for all owners of websites with banner ads. If successful, it will mean that a wide and diverse group can be compensated, from major media sites to small and medium-sized companies that create their own online content. Businesses that do not want to be included in the trial can opt out. […] Britain’s competition watchdog is also investigating Google’s power in the digital advertising technology market. The Dutch case is open to European publishers affected by Google’s actions. Geradin Partners has teamed up with Dutch law firm Stek to file a class action lawsuit.