Missouri AG investigating Google for antitrust violations

Missouri AG Josh Hawley launches investigation of Google

Missouri AG investigating Google for antitrust violations

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said Monday that he is investigating whether Google violated state antitrust and consumer protection laws.

"Through this extensive cross-platform data collection, Google can construct highly detailed profiles of users and their online activity", Hawley says in a fact sheet issued Monday. Asked whether his Senate bid influenced his decision to investigate, he said the goal is to "protect the people of Missouri". He expressed concern over the accuracy of the company's privacy policy, allegations it misappropriated content from rivals and claims it demoted competitors' websites in search results.

Google spokesman Patrick Lenihan said in a statement that the company has not yet received the subpoena.

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He pointed to the European Union fining Google $2.7 billion in June for unfairly favoring links to its own shopping service over those from other e-commerce websites. But the Federal Trade Commission settled with Google in 2013 and said it didn't find any reasons to impose radical changes on how the company runs its Internet search engine. It reported 385,888 images of local businesses posted by Yelp users had appeared in Google's local search results, a direct violation of the settlement.

Hawley's office says US regulators were wrong not to pursue legal action over potential antitrust violations.

The Federal Trade Commission has come to rely more heavily on states attorneys general for enforcement.

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