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Missouri attorney general launches an anti-trust investigation against Google

14 November 2017

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

He says the company will be held accountable and Missouri is not giving Google a free pass. Hawley said that his preliminary investigation suggests that Google may not be accurately disclosing how much data it collects about customers and that people don't have a meaningful choice to opt out of Google's data collection.

Missouri's attorney general says his office will investigate Google for potential violations of the state's antitrust and consumer-protection laws. "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". 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.

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In the announcement, Hawley's office emphasized the historic $2.7 billion in fines leveled by the European Union against Google for its anti-trust practices and a complaint filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center with the Federal Trade Commission on Google's consumer tracking practices.

In addition to online users' location, device information, cookie data, online queries, and website history, Hawley says it is estimated that Google has access to 70% of all card transactions in the United States.

National regulators last probed Google in 2013, when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement with the internet company.