French culture minister Aurélie Filippetti yesterday (10th December) boycotted the inauguration of the "lab" of the Google Cultural Institute in Paris.
Filippetti declined to attend because of problems still remaining to be resolved with the US firm, and was replaced at the last minute by junior minister for the digital economy, Fleur Pellerin.
Fillipetti initially accepted the invitation, but changed her mind at the last minute, according to French press reports. Her concerns are said to include the payment of taxes, the protection of personal data, cultural diversity and the fight against piracy.
Google “is not an enemy of France,” Pellerin said in her speech. She stressed the need to “guarantee an open and non-discriminatory internet”, and for “Google, like all the major actors of internet to strictly respect the laws of our country.”
The 340-square metre lab, which is reserved for professionals, provides experimental technology equipment, and will offer residence to young artists. The institute itself was opened in 2011.