Google Tries To Sue Watch Dog For Massive Leak

( American tech giant Google announced on Thursday that it planned to sue the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the country’s antitrust watchdog after details from its confidential report into an antitrust investigation against Google were leaked.

The leaked details, published last Saturday by the Times of India and Reuters, revealed that the CCI investigation found Google had abused the dominant position of its Android operating system in India and used its “huge financial muscle” to illegally harm its competitors.

Before the report was leaked, Google said that it looked forward to working with the Competition Commission to show how its Android operating system “has led to more competition and innovation, not less.”

In a statement on Thursday, Google said that it was filing a legal challenge at the Delhi High Court to bar any further illegal disclosures from the confidential report. The company said its suit was in protest against the “breach of confidence” which it claims impairs Google from being able to defend itself while also harming both Google and its partners.

In its statement, the company argued that it had fully cooperated and “maintained confidentiality throughout the investigative process.” In exchange, Google explained, it had expected the same level of confidentiality from “institutions we engage with.”

The CCI denied the allegations made in Google’s suit, saying that it followed Section 57 of the 2002 Competition Act which states that information obtained by the CCI will not be disclosed without its written permission. It also suggested that, instead of suing CCI, Google should pursue cases against the media outlets who leaked the report.

The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to grant any interim relief to Google, saying that it can’t form an opinion on the zone of confidentiality until it reviews the impugned order. The matter was then adjourned until Monday September 27 for a further hearing.

In April 2019, India’s antitrust authority ordered the probe, saying at the time that Google appeared to be leveraging its dominance to make it harder for device-makers to opt for alternate versions of its mobile operating system while forcing them to pre-install Google apps.

The CCI’s 750-page report found the mandatory pre-installation of apps “amounts to imposition of unfair condition on the device manufacturers” in violation of India’s competition law. According to Reuters, the report also found that Google leveraged the position of its Play Store app store to protect its dominance in the market.