United States Congressional antitrust investigators are scrutinizing plans by Google to use a new Internet protocol over concern that it could give the company a competitive advantage by making it harder for others to access consumer data.
Investigators for the House Judiciary Committee have asked Google for information about its “decision regarding whether to adopt or promote the adoption” of the protocol, which the company says is aimed at improving Internet security.
House investigators are also asking whether data collected or processed through the new protocol will be used by Google for any commercial purposes. The Justice Department is aware of concerns over the protocol change and has recently received complaints.
The new standard would encrypt internet traffic to improve security, which could help prevent hackers from spoofing or snooping on websites. But the new standard could alter the Internet’s competitive landscape, cable and wireless companies say. They fear being shut out from much of user data if browser users move wholesale to this new standard, which many Internet service providers don’t currently support.
Service providers also worry that Google may compel its Chrome browser users to switch to Google services that support the protocol, something Google says it has no intention of doing.