Missouri attorney general investigating Google

November 13, 2017 by Summer Ballentine

Missouri's attorney general announced Monday that his office is investigating Google for potential violations of the state's consumer-protection and antitrust laws.

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley, who also is running for Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill's seat in 2018, told reporters that he issued an "investigative subpoena" to the tech giant to gather information. Asked whether his Senate bid influenced his decision to investigate, he said the goal is to "protect the people of Missouri."

Hawley's office is checking into what Google does with the user information it collects and allegations that it inappropriately scrapes information from competitors' websites. It's also looking into allegations that the company manipulates search results to favor its own websites over competitors', which has been the subject of recent scrutiny in Europe.

Google spokesman Patrick Lenihan said in a statement that the company has not yet received the subpoena. "However, we have strong privacy protections in place for our users and continue to operate in a highly competitive and dynamic environment," Lenihan said.

The Missouri investigation comes on the heels of a $2.7 billion antitrust fine issued to the tech giant by the European Union in June for unfairly featuring its own shopping services in its influential .

Federal regulators in the U.S. 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 . Federal regulators didn't find any reasons to impose radical changes.

Hawley's office argues that were wrong not to sue Google and that inaction left an opening for a potential state suit. Hawley said the Federal Trade Commission under former President Barack Obama "did not take any enforcement action against Google, did not press this forward and has essentially given them a free pass."

Hawley's office said Missouri's strong consumer-protection laws could help with a potential lawsuit over user data.

Explore further: India's antitrust probe into Google moves into next phase

Related Stories

Google parent books $2.7B fine as European fight looms

July 24, 2017

Google parent Alphabet is taking a $2.7 billion write-down to cover a large fine EU antitrust enforcers assessed in June . While the search giant can shrug off the cost, uncertainty lingers over its ability to operate freely ...

EU ups pressure on Google in antitrust case (Update)

January 15, 2014

The European Union's antitrust watchdog is increasing pressure on Google to swiftly provide better proposals to address allegations the firm is abusing its dominant position in Internet searches.

Canada's antitrust regulators scrutinizing Google

December 14, 2013

Government regulators in Canada are poised to open a formal investigation into whether Google is abusing its dominance of the Internet search market to stifle competition and drive up digital advertising prices.

Recommended for you

Volvo to supply Uber with self-driving cars (Update)

November 20, 2017

Swedish carmaker Volvo Cars said Monday it has signed an agreement to supply "tens of thousands" of self-driving cars to Uber, as the ride-sharing company battles a number of different controversies.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.