Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Missouri Attorney General Launches Probe Into Google's Business Practices


In a statement, the state's attorney general, Josh Hawley, said that his office has issued a subpoena to the search giant earlier on Monday. 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.

"Substantial evidence exists that Google may manipulate the results to list Google-affiliated websites higher in the search results", said Hawley during that conference.

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Hawley's office is checking into what Google does with the user information it collects and allegations that it inappropriately scrapes information from competitors' websites.

The European Union in June issued a $2.7 billion (2.4 billion euro) antitrust fine, which Google has appealed, for unfairly highlighting its own shopping service in search results.

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Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hawley said it's important to find out how Google handles sensitive information - especially after large companies like Equifax recently suffered massive data breaches. Hawley said the Federal Trade Commission under former President Barack Obama "did not take any enforcement action against Google, did not press this forward and has essentially given them a free pass". "Google leverages this user information as part of its highly profitable online advertising business, and it also may sell certain user information to third parties".

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National regulators last probed Google in 2013, when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement with the internet company.

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