State Attorneys General Launch Antitrust Probe of Google

September 9, 2019 by Dan McCue
Google headquarters on Jan. 24, 2016, in Mountain View, Calif. Many tech companies in Silicon Valley are coming under scrutiny from U.S. antitrust enforcers. (Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa USA/TNS)

WASHINGTON – Fifty attorneys general launched an antitrust investigation into Google Monday, announcing their effort on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the bipartisan coalition, said Monday the probe will look at whether Google has “engaged in anticompetitive behavior that stifled competition, restricted access, and harmed consumers.”

“Now, more than ever, information is power, and the most important source of information in Americans’ day-to-day lives is the internet. When most Americans think of the internet, they no doubt think of Google,” Paxton continued.

“There is nothing wrong with a business becoming the biggest game in town if it does so through free market competition, but we have seen evidence that Google’s business practices may have undermined consumer choice, stifled innovation, violated users’ privacy, and put Google in control of the flow and dissemination of online information,” he said. “We intend to closely follow the facts we discover in this case and proceed as necessary.” 

He was joined outside the Supreme Court by the attorneys general from the District of Columbia, Alaska, South Dakota, Indiana, Arkansas, Utah, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, and Nebraska.

They vowed to thoroughly investigate Google’s overarching control of online advertising markets and search traffic that may have led to anticompetitive behavior that harms consumers.

Legal experts from each state will work in cooperation with Federal authorities to assess competitive conditions for online services and ensure that Americans have access to free digital markets.

“Online advertising is everywhere. This investigation is about whether that market is fair and open to all. We hope that Google will cooperate in the states’ investigation,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.

Google, Facebook and other tech companies are already facing multiple investigations by Congress and other federal entities into whether the Silicon Valley giants are brazenly ignoring antitrust laws.

But critics of those inquiries say they’ve moved too slowly. Their hope is that the effort by the attorneys general will lead to more of a sense of urgency on the part of their federal counterparts.

Google will control 31.1% of global digital ad dollars in 2019, according to eMarketer, a market research firm.

Google is not the only tech giant to draw the interest of the states.

Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced she is looking into whether Facebook violated competition laws because it mishandled “consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising.”

The investigation has the backing of attorneys general in states such as Colorado, Florida and Ohio as well as the District of Columbia.

A spokesman for Google said the company’s services “help people every day, create more choices for consumers, and support thousands of jobs and small businesses across the country.”

“We look forward to working with the attorneys general to answer questions about our business and the dynamic technology sector,” he said.

Technology

Government Agencies Make Progress Implementing Zero Trust
Cybersecurity
Government Agencies Make Progress Implementing Zero Trust
November 23, 2020
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — Zero Trust is an approach to the design and implementation of internet technology networks. This security concept developed out of the belief that organizations should not trust anything — either outside or inside — its perimeter. Therefore, everything must be verified before being granted... Read More

EU Auditors: Antitrust Probes Too Slow to Curb Tech Giants
European Union
EU Auditors: Antitrust Probes Too Slow to Curb Tech Giants

LONDON (AP) — The EU's efforts to rein in the power of big tech companies such as Google and Facebook through antitrust investigations have taken too long, dulling their effectiveness, a report said Thursday. Legal tools available to the bloc's competition regulators, meanwhile, have not kept... Read More

Schrier Helps Tribes Secure First-Ever Licenses to Expand Internet Access
Congress
Schrier Helps Tribes Secure First-Ever Licenses to Expand Internet Access
November 11, 2020
by Sean Trambley

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash., recently helped the Nisqually and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in her district fulfill a long time dream. They are two of eight tribes in the state to receive first-of-their-kind licenses for 2.5 GHz wireless broadband services. ... Read More

Bipartisan Policy Center Hosts MOCs on Rural Broadband, Telehealth Discussion
Congress
Bipartisan Policy Center Hosts MOCs on Rural Broadband, Telehealth Discussion
October 23, 2020
by Sara Wilkerson

This week, the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank based in Washington, D.C, hosted Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J. and Dave Joyce, R-Ohio,  for a discussion of rural broadband access in connection with telehealth and education. The discussion was part of the American Congressional Exchange Program from... Read More

Senate Committee Seeks Subpoena Against Facebook and Twitter Leaders
Social Media
Senate Committee Seeks Subpoena Against Facebook and Twitter Leaders
October 22, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A Senate committee voted to subpoena the chief executives of Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. Thursday over what its chairman called censorship of information potentially embarrassing to presidential candidate Joe Biden. The social media giants limited the sharing of New York Post articles that... Read More

Google Monopoly Case by US Sets Stage for Multipronged Attack
Business
Google Monopoly Case by US Sets Stage for Multipronged Attack

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Justice Department sued Alphabet Inc.'s Google in the most significant antitrust case against an American company in two decades, kicking off what promises to be a volley of legal actions against the search giant for allegedly abusing its market power. Google, which controls about 90% of the online... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top