Google responds to Missouri investigation

Missouri AG subpoenas Google in antitrust investigation

Attorney General Josh Hawley's office said on Monday that it issued a subpoena to investigate if Google's use of information that it collects about consumers is appropriate and if the company stifles competing websites in search results.

Google is facing another investigation into its business practices. But as Google and other tech companies like Amazon and Facebook continue to become more powerful, some USA politicians and academics are posing questions more forcefully about whether antitrust laws should be changed or brought to bear in a new way against the tech giants.

Missouri's Hawley said the FTC's inaction created an opening.

In a statement, Google spokesperson Patrick Lenihan, said, "We have not yet received the subpoena, however, we have strong privacy protections in place for our users and continue to operate in a highly competitive and dynamic environment". Yelp wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in September contending that Google has violated a 2012 settlement by allegedly scraping photos from Yelp reviews for its own search results. In Congress, however, the search giant and other dominant tech companies have come under increased criticism in recent months over a range of issues, from their failure to prevent Russian operatives from manipulating their platforms during the 2016 election to their sprawling size and industry-swallowing operations.

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The idea that Google was unfairly suppressing search results for its competitors got scant traction in the USA after the FTC concluded in 2013 that the company wasn't trying to stifle competition.

"Frankly, the FTC - the Obama-era FTC - did not take any enforcement actions against Google. and has essentially given them a free pass", he said.

Additionally, Hawley says he plans to investigate allegations that Google wrongly scrapes material from competitors' sites. Hawley, a Republican, is seeking to unseat Democrat incumbent Sen.

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