Monday, January 17, 2022

Ohio sues Google for ‘anti-competitive behavior’

On Tuesday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against Google alleging “discriminatory and anti-competitive behavior.” The lawsuit goes on to declare Google a public utility, subjecting it to regulatory boards in the state.

Although Google has faced federal and state level investigations before, this lawsuit is certainly the first for Google to be treated as a public utility.

Ohio AG criticizes Google’s monopolistic behavior, demands regulation

The beginning of the case, State of Ohio v. Google (PDF), read: “The vast majority of Ohioans use the Internet. And nearly all who do use Google Search. Google is so ubiquitous that its name has become a verb. “

This widespread, practically unquestionable supremacy is an important argument for the state to consider it a public utility.

As further evidence of this, the suit notes that “Google dominates Internet search both globally and domestically.” This dominance is so widespread that “about 90 [percent] Out of all Internet searches are done through Google.” On mobile devices, it says, this dominance is even greater, with Google controlling 95 percent of all Internet searches.

This dominance, it continues, is essentially impossible to break because of the high barriers to entry in the field. Search engine algorithms improve, it notes, “with each subsequent search.” With its long history, Google has had time to improve its search engine beyond that of competitors’ search engines.

The suit says that even though Google’s mission statement is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” the site “fails to disclose to its user”[s] … that it manipulates the presentation of that information to give preference to its own services, providing search results that best benefit Google’s interests.”

Nevertheless, the suit notes “this suit does not seek to redress Google’s dominance of Internet search,” nor does it “argue whether Google’s dominance of Internet search is good or bad when viewed in isolation.” ” This, it says, is “left to be resolved elsewhere.”

This section of the suit ends with the words that Google “as a common carrier and public utility … cannot self-prefer on its results pages.”

The suit also notes that the legal action and its requested remedies are “based on the affirmative statutory, general and/or adjudicatory laws of Ohio.” In other words, if Ohio courts grant a lawsuit against Google, its rules will apply only within Ohio’s borders.

It also rejects federal interference in state legal proceedings against the corporation, stating that any such attempt “would unfairly upset the balance of federal and state responsibilities” and “would not be based on the basis of law or fact”. without “.

Suit gets support from conservative politicians, think-tanks

Some conservative politicians and organizations came out in support of the suit.

Douglas Swearingen (R-Ohio), U.S. Senate primary contender J.D. Vance, and the Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence (CCJ) filed a brief explaining why the suit should be accepted by Yost.

one in media release From Claremont, CCJ founder John Eastman noted that “the goal of the Claremont Institute is to protect a strong marketplace of public discourse and ideas, and therefore the attorney general’s efforts to protect the ability of Ohio citizens to communicate and engage.” It has a genuine and substantial interest in today’s public class—meaningful democratic discourse on the Internet.”

Widespread concern over social media censorship has long been a conservative concern, leading President Donald Trump to find a hotline to allow people to report their social media restrictions to the federal government. These concerns only intensified after Trump, while still the current president of the United States, was banned from Twitter.

Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a vocal critic of Trump, found the ban related. “Do I feel particularly comfortable that the then-President of the United States couldn’t express his views on Twitter? I don’t feel comfortable about it,” Sanders said in an interview with the New York Times.

a Tweet Senate challenger Vance’s press team described Yost’s lawsuit as “an attempt to break Big Tech’s grip on the public square.”

“Dave Yost deserves applause for this landmark lawsuit that could give Ohio the ability to provide overdue meaningful monitoring of large technology companies like Google,” Vance said.

In a press release on the legal action, Yost noted “Ohio is the first state in the country to have brought such a lawsuit.”

“Plainly,” the release said, “Ohio is at a disadvantage by Google because they can’t make the best choice if they don’t get all the information. For example, if someone searches for a flight And Google submits its search results to take that person on Google Flights, then that person may not see offers from competitors like Orbitz and Travelocity.”

Google has moved the courts to dismiss the lawsuit, a motion the authors of the amicus brief urged the court to deny.

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Joseph Lord is a congressional reporter for The Epoch Times focusing on Democrats. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Clemson University and was a scholar on the Lyceum program.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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