Google says it will pay $6 million to the Australian government in a settlement over its alleged role in “unfair, unlawful and deceptive conduct” during a time when it was “deeply troubled” about its relationship with Google search engine results.
Key points:Google was forced to pay a $6.7m penalty to the Federal Government in February 2016, with an investigation into the company’s relationship with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) ongoingThe Australian Federal Government is suing Google over its role in a $30m “digital takedown” of WikiLeaksThe settlement will involve Google’s compliance with anti-money laundering and anti-corruption lawsThe Australian Government has sued Google over allegations of a digital takedown, which was conducted by the AFP in 2016.
In 2016, Google said it removed material from WikiLeaks that it had “grave concerns” about.
It alleged the material was linked to a group of “criminal hackers” and was linked “to an AFP sting operation”.
In its 2017 reply, Google acknowledged the alleged activity and said it had received a letter from the AFP saying it “had no reason to believe” the material should be removed.
“The AFP letter was the result of a long and complex investigation and, based on the evidence before it, we concluded that the material in question did not violate Australian law,” Google said.
“In light of that conclusion, we agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve the matter.
A year later, the Australian Government’s investigation into Google was reopened, and the Australian Attorney-General, the Attorney-Generals Legal Adviser and the Attorney General’s own lawyers were involved.”
The Australian government has requested that we pay it in full in the first instance and seek any and all other relevant remedies.”
A year later, the Australian Government’s investigation into Google was reopened, and the Australian Attorney-General, the Attorney-Generals Legal Adviser and the Attorney General’s own lawyers were involved.
In October 2017, the AFP announced it had obtained warrants for the seizure of more than 500 computers in connection with the case.
In June 2018, the Federal Court ruled Google’s response was insufficient to warrant an investigation.
“It was not an adequate response and was not the outcome that we had hoped for,” Mr Rimmer said at the time.
“There are very significant issues around Google and its compliance with Australian law.
I don’t believe that they have ever been more compliant or more transparent than they are now.”
Google says it has “serious concerns” over its relationship With the Australian Police The Australian Federal Attorney-Gen, Chris Evans, said in his submission to the court that the company had “serious, systemic and widespread” concerns about its relationships with the Federal Police.
“Google’s current relationship with AFP is a matter of serious concern to the AFP and I expect it will be a matter for the court to decide,” he said.
Mr Evans said Google “wanted to make sure that it was complying with all relevant anti-narcotics laws and it failed to do so”.
“This failure to comply with anti‑narcotic laws, along with other factors, included the following: lack of oversight of the AFP, lack of transparency, the fact that it operates through Australia, its failure to maintain a system for reporting suspicious activity and its failure for a period of time to take steps to prevent and respond to suspected illegal activity,” he wrote.
Google has also come under fire from the Federal Opposition, with Liberal Senator Stephen Conroy calling on the Federal Parliament to launch an inquiry into the alleged wrongdoing.
“I think it’s absolutely right that we look at the matter, but I also think it is appropriate to ask the Government to hold Google to account in the way it would conduct any inquiry,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“This is a company that has built up a reputation over the years of being a bit of a rogue organisation.
And it has been operating for decades in Australia.”
Senator Conroy said he believed Google had engaged in a “pattern of activity which could well have a bearing on how the AFP will handle this case”.
“I don’t think we should take the actions that we have taken in the past to investigate Google,” he added.
Mr Conroy also questioned why the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had not called the AFP directly to ask why Google had failed to comply.
“What I would ask you to do is hold Google accountable for this conduct and what the consequences would be if the AFP were to go after this company,” he asked.
“And then why have you taken a phone call from the Prime Minister?”
Senator Conoy was responding to a question from Fairfax Media’s Tim Mander about whether he would be able to intervene directly in the case and whether he felt it was appropriate to hold a hearing.
Mr Turnbull told reporters he had spoken to Google’s general counsel in February.
“We had a very constructive and frank discussion.
It was not a secret and I have not spoken to him, but we did have a conversation and I am satisfied he has a good grasp