Missouri AG investigating Google for antitrust violations

Missouri AG investigating Google for antitrust violations

Missouri AG investigating Google for antitrust violations

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. The FTC sometimes comments on state regulations or coordinates a joint investigation, and state attorneys general can bring federal antitrust suits on behalf of a citizen of their state.

"This misappropriation hurts business and it threatens to drive Google's competitors out of the market, which in turn deprives consumers of innovation and valuable services", he says.

He said, however, that Google has "strong privacy protections in place for our users" and that it continues "to operate in a highly competitive and dynamic environment".

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

Also of interest to Hawley's investigation is the roughly 70 percent of all card transaction information that Google collects.

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In the announcement, Hawley's office emphasized the historic $2.7 billion in fines leveled by the European Union against Google for its anti-trust practices and a complaint filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center with the Federal Trade Commission on Google's consumer tracking practices.

Hawley said it's important to find out how Google handles sensitive information - especially after large companies like Equifax recently suffered massive data breaches.

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.

If Google doesn't respond to his office's subpoena, Hawley said he is willing to take the company to court.

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