Economy

U.S. state launches probe of Google's business practices

U.S. state launches probe of Google's business practices

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.

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley, who also is running for Democratic U.S. Sen.

Google was facing a broad investigation into its business practices Monday, with American officials planning to examine how the internet giant handles user data and offers up search results. Asked whether his Senate bid influenced his decision to investigate, he said the goal is to "protect the people of Missouri".

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

In September, Yelp wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission that Google had violated a 2012 settlement by allegedly scraping photos from online reviews for its own search results.

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Missouri is launching an investigation into whether Google has broken its consumer protection and antitrust laws. "However, we have strong privacy protections in place for our users and continue to operate in a highly competitive and dynamic environment", Lenihan said.

"There is strong reason to believe that Google has not been acting with the best interest of Missourians in mind", Hawley said in the statement.

He says the company hasn't yet received an investigative subpoena issued by Hawley's office.

Hawley's office says US regulators were wrong not to pursue legal action over potential antitrust violations.


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