Missouri AG Launches Antitrust And Privacy Probe Of Google

14 November, 2017, 01:52 | Author: Martin Tyler

His office is investigating to determine if Google has violated the state's main consumer protection law.

Missouri's attorney general announced Monday a broad investigation into Google's business practices, including whether the company violated the state's consumer protection and antitrust laws.

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Federal regulators in the USA also have investigated the company over antitrust claims, but Google settled with the Federal Trade Commission in 2013 without making any major concessions on how the company runs its internet search engine.

Attorney General Josh Hawley said that the investigation will focus on three issues: the scope of Google's data collection, whether it has abused its market position as a dominant search engine and whether the company has unfairly used content produced by competitors, like Yelp, in its own search results. 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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He says the company will be held accountable and Missouri is not giving Google a free pass.

Hawley's office argues that federal regulators were wrong not to sue Google and that inaction left an opening for a potential state suit. He says "substantial evidence" suggests the company might manipulate search results to list Google-affiliated websites higher in search results. He says most people don't realize that Google builds individual user profiles of those who use the company's services.

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This summer, the European Union fined Google a record $2.7 Billion for similar activities.

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