The close relationship between Google’s advertising and search businesses must be broken, the European Parliament has ruled.
The body first revealed plans for the "unbundling of search engines from other commercial services" last week but has now approved the proposal. It wishes to ensure "competitive conditions within the digital single market".
The resolution also calls for the ushering into law of forced internet neutrality, stating that "all internet traffic should be treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference, irrespective of its sender, receiver, type, content, device, service or application".
The parliament cannot actively force the action itself but is urging member states to force Google’s hand on a country-by-country basis.
Google has already agreed to abide by the EU’s controversial calls regarding the right to be forgotten” and will now on request wipe clean search data regarding individuals or companies that is over five years old.
Earlier this month US President Barack Obama pledged his support for net neutrality, causing telecoms firm AT&T to declare that it had halted plans to roll out a super-speed fiber network while it remained uncertain precisely what products it would and would not be able to sell to potential partners.
Net neutrality has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted,” Obama stated. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas.”