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Missouri Opens Antitrust Investigation Into Google

14 November 2017

Hawley, a Republican, is also questioning Google's alleged practice of "scraping" of online content from competing websites.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said Monday that he is investigating whether Google violated state antitrust and consumer protection laws.

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Missouri's attorney general has launched a broad investigation into whether Google is violating the state's consumer-protection and antitrust laws, a new front in the internet giant's regulatory battles.

The Kansas City Star first reported on the investigation. 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 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.

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Google has largely steered clear of antitrust problems in the U.S. That's not the case in Europe, where the company faces a fine of about $2.7 billion over the display of its shopping ads. In Congress, however, the search giant and other dominant tech companies have come under increased criticism in recent months over a range of issues, from their failure to prevent Russian operatives from manipulating their platforms during the 2016 election to their sprawling size and industry-swallowing operations.

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

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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.

Missouri Opens Antitrust Investigation Into Google