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Missouri is taking page from Europe and investigating Google

13 November 2017

Google is defending itself after Missouri's attorney general launched an investigation of the company for potential violations of the state's antitrust and consumer-protection laws. "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".

"We are looking at allegations that Google has lifted information from competitors' own sites", Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said in a press conference broadcast on his Facebook page.

Lastly, Hawley's office is investigating whether Google has manipulated search results to favor websites owned by Google and to demote websites that compete with Google. "I will not stand idly by and simply take the word of any corporate giant as to their best interests". Yelp said in the letter that Google has been violating commitments it made after the Federal Trade Commission closed an investigation into the search engine's practices in 2013.

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

Google spokesman Patrick Lenihan said in a statement that the company has not yet received the subpoena. However, lawmakers in the past year have become increasingly skeptical of and at times antagonistic toward the tech industry.

Hawley - a Republican who is running for the GOP Senate nomination to challenge sitting Democratic Sen.

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He noted that Google entered into an agreement with the FTC in 2012 in which it promised not to engage in misappropriation of competitors' websites data.

When asked whether his bid for national office influenced his decision to go after one of the most influential tech companies in the world, Hawley said, "My decision to pursue Google goes back to my oath of office", to protect the people of Missouri.

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Missouri is taking page from Europe and investigating Google