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Fifty attorneys general, now including Michigan AG Dana Nessel, have announced an antitrust investigation into Google’s conduct. Nessel joined the bipartisan alliance on Monday.
The attorneys general announced an intent to assess whether the tech company is taking part in “anticompetitive behavior that harms the public,” according to a press release, as well as whether the American public has access to “free and open digital markets.”
The alliance will investigate Google’s ongoing market power — aka its control of search traffic and online advertising markets — and will also take a look at competitive conditions for online services overall.
“Google plays a critical role in our online economy as the biggest and most powerful advertising and search engine company in the country. It is illegal for a business to use its market power to engage in anticompetitive conduct specifically to protect its status as a virtual monopoly,” said Nessel. “Our personal data is the biggest commodity in today’s online economy. When a giant like Google makes 90 percent of its revenue from utilizing our personal data in its advertising business while undermining consumer choice, stifling innovation, violating our privacy, and controlling the flow and exchange of information, it is essential that we take a closer look. We will go where the facts lead us to both protect our consumers and to ensure a free and competitive market.”
Google has been investigated before, which has revealed that the company has in the past advertised illegal drugs in the U.S. The European Commission has also brought three antitrust actions against the tech giant.
In addition to Nessel, attorneys general in the following states have joined the investigation: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
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