Missouri starts investigating Google's business practices

Missouri starts investigating Google's business practices

Google agreed to change some business practices the FTC said were stifling competition in certain markets.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley launches an antitrust investigation into Google (GOOGL, GOOG), accusing the company of violating the state's consumer protection laws.

Mr. Hawley said his probe was in part prompted by a record $2.7 billion fine European regulators levied against Google in June for allegedly favoring its services in its search results.

Claire McCaskill's seat in 2018, told reporters that he issued an "investigative subpoena" to the tech giant to gather information.

"It is a very strong concern that we have potentially in Google a company that is gathering all sorts of personal confidential information and then using that personal confidential information for profit", says Hawley. Google has said it provides consumers with the option to control their privacy settings and does not provide third parties with personally identifiable information like names, email addresses and billing information. According to a news release, he also wants to know if Google is manipulating its search algorithm to "preference websites owned by Google and to demote websites that compete with Google." .

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Hawley's office argues that federal regulators were wrong not to sue Google and that inaction left an opening for a potential state suit.

Google was not immediately available to comment.

"Through this extensive cross-platform data collection, Google can construct highly detailed profiles of users and their online activity", Hawley says in a fact sheet issued Monday.

"This is not a "Dear Google" letter", he said.

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