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French culture minister snubs Google at major Paris event

Published on Dec 10, 2013 11:50 PM

PARIS (AFP) - France's culture minister on Tuesday cancelled her attendance at the Paris launch of a Google cultural hub at the last minute, in a snub to the US giant over data protection and other issues.

The French government is at loggerheads with Google over privacy and its controversial tax arrangements, but the cancellation prompted a last-resort scramble at the presidency and prime minister's office, which asked Innovation Minister Fleur Pellerin to go to the afternoon event instead.

Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti's office said she had decided not to go as planned to the launch of the "Lab" - which Google Vice President Vint Cerf was also to attend - so as not to be seen as fully backing the tech firm "despite the quality of the project".

"At this stage, we do not have enough assurances on a certain number of issues," one aide said, adding Filippetti wanted Google to "commit more resolutely" on areas such as the protection of personal data and taxation.

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