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Google being investigated by South Korea for antitrust claim

[JURIST] The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) [official website], South Korea's antitrust regulator, confirmed [FT report] on Friday that the country is investigating whether Google [corporate website] violated the country's antitrust laws. The KFTC's statement comes as a surprise as a local news outlet reported that the KFTC had cleared Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company, of all antitrust claims against the technology giant. It is alleged that Google requires mobile-phone producers to pre-load the company's apps on phones using its Android operating system. Earlier this year, the EU Commissioner of Competition, Margeth Vestagar [official profile], launched a probe [JURIST report] in regards to the same matter.

Google has faced numerous legal suits both in the US and internationally. In 2015 the EU filed an antitrust claim [JURIST report] against Google claiming that Google structures its search results to favor its own services over those of rivals. Earlier that year, privacy software company Disconnect [corporate website] filed antitrust charges [JURIST report] against Google with the European Commissioner. That January a representative for Google signed an agreement [JURIST report] to rewrite the company's current privacy policy in response to pressure from the UK Information Commissioner's Office [official website]. Also in January of last year Google was among four tech companies that reached a $415 million settlement [JURIST report] in a class action lawsuit claiming the companies unlawfully agreed to reduce employee compensation and mobility. A Hong Kong court ruled [JURIST report] in August 2014 that Chinese businessman Dr. Albert Yeung Sau Shing may continue his defamation suit against Google over the autocomplete function of the company's search engine, which suggests links connecting Yeung to organized crime groups in China. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in May 2014 that programming interfaces in Oracle's Java technology can be protected under US copyright law, allowing Oracle to pursue its legal case against Google.

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