Missouri Opens Antitrust Investigation Into Google

Posted November 14, 2017

During a news conference today, Hawley says he wants to know if Google is breaking Missouri law by the way it's collecting, using, and releasing information about its users and their online activities.

Mr. Hawley said the state's preliminary investigation found that Google may be collecting more information from users than the company is telling consumers and that users don't have a "meaningful option" to opt out of Google's data collection.

Attorney generals of 37 states reached a $7 million settlement in 2013 over Google's unauthorized collection of Wi-Fi data through its Street View digital-mapping cars.

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A Google spokesman said that the company had not yet received Missouri´s subpoena, but that it has "strong privacy protections in place for our users".

"There is strong reason to believe that Google has not been acting with the best interest of Missourians in mind", Hawley said in the statement.

Hawley's investigation also aims to learn if the company is breaking the law by leveraging what he calls Google's "near-monopoly" power in the search engine market to stifle competition.

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Asked at the press conference whether his senate candidacy played a role in opening the Google inquiry, Hawley said he acted upon his oath of office and desire "to get to the truth".

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 search results. One month later, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding a Google program that tracks consumer behavior.

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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