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Google slams new code, claims users’ data under threat from big publishers

“The law would force us to give an unfair advantage to one group of businesses – news media businesses – over everyone else who has a website, YouTube channel or small business,” she said.

Google claimed news media businesses alone would be given information that would help them artificially inflate their ranking over everyone else, even when someone else provides a better result. “The proposed changes are not fair and they mean that Google Search results and YouTube will be worse for you,” Ms Silva said.

Google also claimed Australians search data could be at risk under the proposed law. “Under this law, Google has to tell news media businesses ‘how they can gain access’ to data about your use of our products,” she said. “There’s no way of knowing if any data handed over would be protected, or how it might be used by news media businesses.”

Ms Silva claimed Google already paid Australian news businesses millions of dollars and sent them billions of free clicks every year and had offered to pay more to licence content.

“The law is set up to give big media companies special treatment and to encourage them to make enormous and unreasonable demands that would put our free services at risk,” she said. “We’re going to do everything we possibly can to get this proposal changed.”

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Under the code, the arbitrator would consider the direct and indirect benefits of Australian news content for the digital platforms, the cost of producing the content and the burden on digital platforms.

Introducing the draft code in July Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said it would not protect Australian news media businesses from competition or from disruption that was occurring across the sector.

“What we have sought to do is create a level playing field to ensure a fair go for Australian news media businesses and that when they generate original content, they are fairly paid for it,” Mr Frydenberg said.

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