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Technology States ask internet search rival for evidence in antitrust probe of Google

17:15  30 october  2019
17:15  30 october  2019 Source:   cnn.com

Google could soon face another antitrust investigation

Google could soon face another antitrust investigation Next week, more than half of the nation's attorneys general are expected to announce an antitrust investigation into Google, The Washington Post reports. Details on the investigation are limited, but it's yet another probe into fears that big tech has amassed too much power. Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed concerns that just a handful of companies control the internet and technology at large. Earlier this summer, a House antitrust subcommitteegrilled executives from Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

Officials at the FTC concluded in 2012 that Google used anticompetitive tactics and abused its monopoly power in ways that harmed Internet An FTC staff report reveals new details about how Google manipulated search results to favor its own services over rivals ’. WSJ’s Matthew Rose joins

48 U.S. states launch antitrust investigation into Google . The investigations will initially focus on the advertising market and whether Google broke the law in achieving dominance in the industry, said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the probe .

Texas's attorney general has sent the privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo a demand for documents and records as part of a multi-state antitrust probe into anti-competitive behavior by Google.

a screenshot of a cell phone© Sharaf Maksumov/Shutterstock

The legal request — a copy of which was obtained by CNN — was sent to DuckDuckGo earlier this month. It asks DuckDuckGo to reproduce any information it has provided to the Justice Department in connection with the federal agency's own Google antitrust probe.

The move highlights the broad reach of investigators as 50 attorneys general, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, probe Google's business for wrongdoing. It underscores how investigators are increasingly seeking testimony from businesses that compete with Google for market share.

States Expected to Announce Antitrust Probe of Google Next Week

States Expected to Announce Antitrust Probe of Google Next Week More than half of state attorneys general are planning to open an antitrust investigation of Alphabet Inc.’s Google next week, according to two people familiar with the matter. Multiple states are planning to announce the coordinated probe on Sept. 9, said three people, who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive deliberations. The plans could change. U.S. antitrust enforcers have already taken preliminary steps toward a probe of the search giant, which is also a major player in online ads and mobile operating systems. It has faced antitrust investigations in Europe as well.

Participating states on Monday asked Google to provide documents on its advertising business, Paxton said at the U.S. President Donald Trump has also accused social media firms and Google of suppressing conservative voices online, but has not presented any evidence for his views.

Texas closed this probe in mid-2014, giving Google and companies that had complained about it notice by phone without offering any reason Sally Hubbard, a director at the antitrust -advocacy group Open Markets Institute, said five years later the Google practices concerning investigators has not abated.

In September, Texas kicked off the investigation by sending Google its own civil investigative demand, which CNN also obtained. With more than 200 numbered questions, the demand asked Google to explain its past mergers, its advertising technology and its data collection practices, among other things. A civil investigative demand, or CID, carries the weight of a subpoena.

DuckDuckGo acknowledged the CID it received in a statement to CNN on Wednesday, saying that it intends to cooperate with the investigation of Google.

"We have received a subpoena (CID) as part of the antitrust investigation of Google," the company said. "While private search is only one of the privacy protection tools we offer, the subpoena concerns our experience competing in the search market, including search syndication contracts and default search deals."

The company added: "We intend to cooperate with this inquiry as best we can because robust scrutiny promotes healthy competition, greater choice for users, and stronger data privacy practices. Our users should rest assured that no personal information will be shared because we do not collect or store such information in the first place, as explained in our privacy policy."

DuckDuckGo had previously confirmed receiving a CID from the Justice Department.

Paxton's office declined to comment.

Antitrust investigation of Google reportedly expands to Android .
Tonight CNBC reports that an ongoing antitrust investigation of Google undertaken by 50 attorneys general is expanding. While it started by looking into Google's advertising business, it has apparently, as expected, expanded its scope to include search and the Android platform. Over the years Google has reached into more services -- next up: checking -- and platforms with increasingly deep ties to one another, and as the investigation concerns the use of customer data, it seems obvious that it will reach every part of the company eventually.The 48 state AGs, as well as two representing Washington D.C.

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