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Missouri Attorney General Commences Antitrust Investigation for Google
Josh Hawley, Missouri Attorney General, has been reported to have initiated an investigation into the matter of whether giant company Google has violated the antitrust or computer protection laws that are presently being implemented in his state.
The office of the Attorney General in Missouri has issued a press release about the office presently looking into the misappropriation of content from third party, data collection, as well as promotion of websites that Google owned which resulted in the detriment of the company’s third party competitors.
The press release also stated the specific business practices by Google that are presently being questioned by the office of the Missouri Attorney General. This includes the collection, the use, and the disclosure of the information and details of Google users as well as their activities when they are online. This also includes the alleged misappropriation by the company of the content online from the websites of companies that are deemed as its competitors. In addition, the complain also cites that Google has been allegedly manipulating the search results on websites that the company owns and that it has the tendency to demote those sites that are identified to be Google competitor in the rankings.
Hawley, a known Republican is a candidate for Senate in the US next year. In the present political climate though, it can be hard to not view things with political cynicism and calculation as some people are seeing this as a way for him to get better name recall to help him secure a Senate seat next year. While it is true that Hawley is presently seeking populist credibility as well as publicity from this investigation, it should be noted that he is not the only Attorney General who is also looking into the antitrust issues that Google is embroiled in.
Late January of last year, Attorney Generals that hail from Washington, DC, and Utah also urged the FTC or the Federal Trade Commission to get the antitrust investigation against the tech giant reopened. This is based on the allegations of how the company seems to be promoting its own content unfairly in the search engine search results. This is also the same issue which has triggered the $2.7 billion fine that Google has been tasked to pay in Europe just this June.
It was in the year 2013 that Google opted to settle with the FTC. It was also during this time that the FTC stated how there is insufficient evidence under existing laws that will support any complaint that will be filed against the company based on the search bias grounds.
The company is also presently appealing the decision by the European Commission. There are presently two pending antitrust cases against Google in Europe that are focused on Google Play and AdSense, which is seen to possibly result in equally hefty fines.