Missouri starts investigating Google's business practices

Missouri starts investigating Google's business practices

Missouri starts investigating Google's business practices

Google has already landed on the bad side of European Union antitrust regulators, receiving a €2.4B fine in June for shopping search practices and facing another fine over its AdSense network.

Missouri's attorney general said Monday that he has launched an investigation into whether Google has mishandled private customer data and manipulated its search results to favor its own products and stifle competitors. "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".

The Kansas City Star first reported on the investigation.


The investigation will seek to determine if Google has violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act - its principal consumer-protection law - and other state antitrust laws, according to a statement. He says Google "collects substantial information" about consumers' use of services like the shopping search engine "Googe Shopping", and airline booking service "Google Flights". In Washington, tech companies face the possibility of new, sweeping regulations that would implicate key areas of their businesses, including requirements to disclose information about online advertising and obligations to better police user-generated content. In July, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding a Google program that tracks consumer behavior. He says most people don't realize that Google builds individual user profiles of those who use the company's services.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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