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US Gov’t Scrutinizes Google Acquisition of Waze

The US government is scrutinizing the mammoth Google search engine’s acquisition of the Israeli-created Waze mapping application.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 6/23/2013, 11:08 AM

Waze
Waze
Screenshot

The US government is scrutinizing the mammoth Google search engine’s acquisition of the Israeli-created Waze mapping application, Bloomberg News reported late Saturday night. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is investigating the sale in the wake of increased pressure by Europe over its privacy policy.

Earlier this month, Google announced it had agreed to purchase the popular GPS / traffic tracking “app.”  The deal that was reportedly valued at $1.1 billion, according to a source close to those involved.

Google did not release the specific terms of the agreement. Last year, handset manufacturer Motorola Mobility was acquired by the search engine firm for $12.4 billion.  

But as it expands its worldwide reach and its product development, Google is beginning to rattle both business leaders and nations around the world.

Last week the French national data protection agency  issued a direct threat to the company over the data it collects from its users.  CNIL threatened to fine Google if by July it did not comply with six different demands for compliance on data usage. 

The warning was the opening salvo, spearheading an investigation involving a total of 27 different European nations. Five of those are preparing other lawsuits of their own – Germany, Italy, the UK, Spain and the Netherlands.

The attack was apparently ignited by Google’s announcement in 2012 that it would change its privacy policy to allow its various services, such as YouTube and Gmail, to share user data.

That announcement and the uproar it engendered was exacerbated by this year’s revelation that Google had provided information about its users to the U.S. government’s National Security Agency for surveillance purposes.

The news came as part of a leak on the project by former CIA worker Edward Snowden, who has since fled to Hong Kong.