Missouri AG Josh Hawley launches investigation of Google

Dianna Christensen
November 14, 2017

Josh Hawley, a Republican seeking to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill in next year's elections, announced at a press conference that he issued an investigative subpoena to Google. Asked whether his Senate bid influenced his decision to investigate, he said the goal is to "protect the people of Missouri". He says "substantial evidence" suggests the company might manipulate search results to list Google-affiliated websites higher in search results.

In June, the European Union issued Google a record $2.7 billion antitrust fine.

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".

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Federal regulators in the USA also have investigated the company over antitrust claims, but Google settled with the Federal Trade Commission in 2013 without making any major concessions on how the company runs its internet search engine. In a statement, Hawley said he also hopes to glean whether the practice. 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.

Missouri is launching an investigation into whether Google has broken its consumer protection and antitrust laws. A Federal Trade Commission inquiry also prompted Google that year to agree to provide advertisers and patent licensees more flexible terms.

In addition to online users' location, device information, cookie data, online queries, and website history, Hawley says it is estimated that Google has access to 70% of all card transactions in the United States.

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