Google sues US government for favoring Microsoft for e-mail contract

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[JURIST] Google [corporate website; JURIST news archive] has filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Interior (DOI) [official website] alleging that the DOI arbitrarily decided only to allow Microsoft [corporate website] to compete for a contract to overhaul its e-mail system. According to the lawsuit, filed Friday in the US Court of Federal Claims [official website], the DOI decided in August to limit bidders [FT report] to only those using programs based on Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite. Google was allegedly excluded because of security concerns [BBC report], but the company says it has created a special application, Google Government Apps, that addresses all of these concerns. Furthermore, the company argues its application would save US taxpayers millions of dollars.

Over the past year, Google’s privacy practices and policies have the focus of a number of investigations and complaints. Last week, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website] announced that it had ended an inquiry [JURIST report] into Google’s internal policies and procedures that led to the company inadvertently collecting data on unsecured wireless networks while photographing streetscapes for its Street View maps program. In October, Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart announced that Google was in violation [JURIST report] of the country’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act [text, PDF] (PIPEDA). In August, the South Korean National Police Agency (SKNPA) [official website, in Korean] raided the Google South Korean headquarters [JURIST report] in connection with accusations that the company had been illegally acquiring user data. In July, the Australian Privacy Commissioner announced [JURIST report] that its investigation revealed Google’s actions violated the Australia Privacy Act [government backgrounder].

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