Tennessee Republican Attorney General Herbert Slatery wants to investigate Google to make sure the tech giant is abiding by state and federal antitrust laws.
This, according to a press release that said Slatery is joining the other 49 state attorneys general in what he called “a multistate, bipartisan investigation.”
Specifically, Slatery and the other attorneys general said they will focus on what they described as Google’s control of online advertising markets and search traffic. This, in turn, that may have led to anticompetitive behavior, the press release said.
“The business model is based on the accumulation of data. Our questions are how do they protect that data? They can deny the access to the data to other parties,” Slatery said at a press conference with other attorneys general in Washington, D.C. last week.
“We wonder if they have acquired companies in their nascent new form to snuff out competition. Another way to preserve that position is to take a position at a company and find out what their technology is and then roll out their own competing service. All of those areas we want to look at.”
Slatery went on to say he and his counterparts in other states want to make sure consumers have competition.
Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt said at the same press conference that 90 percent of Google’s revenue comes from advertising.
Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, meanwhile, said this is not a lawsuit, but merely an investigation to determine facts.
Arkansas Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said Google is not a free service, despite what many people think.
Meanwhile, Florida Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody said free market issues are at stake.
“When there is no longer a free market or competition this increases prices even when something is marketed as free and harms consumers. Is something really free if we are increasingly giving over our privacy information?” Moody asked.
“Is something really free if online ad prices go up based on one company’s control? Google monitors our online behavior and captures data of every one of us as we navigate the Internet. This investigation will initially focus on the capture of that information and whether Google embedded itself in every level of the online market ad sales to monopolize this industry.”
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