Missouri AG investigating Google for antitrust violations

14 November, 2017, 01:24 | Author: Gladys Mathis
  • Credit Chris Ratcliffe  Bloomberg

Josh Hawley, a Republican seeking to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill in next year's elections, announced at a press conference that he issued an investigative subpoena to Google.

Missouri's attorney general said Monday his office would investigate whether Google violated the state's consumer protection and antitrust laws. According to a news release, he also wants to know if Google is manipulating its search algorithm to "preference websites owned by Google and to demote websites that compete with Google." .

"When a company has access to as much consumer information as Google does, it's my duty to ensure they are using it appropriately", Hawley said in the statement. "And of course, the data it collects is vast. and affects millions of Missourians".

Hawley's investigation also aims to learn if the company is breaking the law by leveraging what he calls Google's "near-monopoly" power in the search engine market to stifle competition. Google has said it provides consumers with the option to control their privacy settings and does not provide third parties with personally identifiable information like names, email addresses and billing information.

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In June, the European Union issued Google a record $2.7 billion antitrust fine.

"We are going to act to hold corporate giants accountable. for the good of the people of Missouri", Hawley said. One month later, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding a Google program that tracks consumer behavior.

Patrick Lenihan, a Google spokesman, declined to say how the company intends to respond to the subpoena because it has not received it yet.

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