Missouri AG investigating Google's business practices

Missouri AG investigating Google's business practices

The Missouri attorney general's office is investigating whether Google has run afoul of consumer protection or antitrust laws in the state.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is going after internet giant Google. One month later, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding a Google program that tracks consumer behavior.

The Federal Trade Commission has come to rely more heavily on states attorneys general for enforcement.

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Patrick Lenihan, a Google spokesman, declined to say how the company intends to respond to the subpoena because it has not received it yet.

The subpoena seeks information about Google´s use of the vast trove of data it collects, including information harvested from devices, online queries and credit card transactions.

His office is investigating to determine if Google has violated the state's main consumer protection law.

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Hawley said it's important to find out how Google handles sensitive information - especially after large companies like Equifax recently suffered massive data breaches. It's also looking into allegations that the company manipulates search results to favor its own websites over competitors', which has been the subject of recent scrutiny in Europe. "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".

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

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

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