Google responds to Missouri investigation

Josh Hawley

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley's office has issued a subpoena to internet giant Google in connection with an investigation into the company's business practices.

The business reviews' website wrote the FTC and the attorney generals of all 50 states in September that Google has copied images from its service without permission in violation of a commitment made to the USA antitrust regulator. The FTC sometimes comments on state regulations or coordinates a joint investigation, and state attorneys general can bring federal antitrust suits on behalf of a citizen of their state.

Late last month in hearings before the House and Senate, representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter were taken to task for their potential role in distributing Russian propaganda during the last Presidential election.

"We are going to act to hold corporate giants accountable. for the good of the people of Missouri", Hawley said.

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.

"When a company has access to as much consumer information as Google does, it's my duty to ensure they are using it appropriately", Hawley said.

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. "My office will not stand by and let private consumer information be jeopardized by industry giants, especially to pad their profits".

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

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