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13 November 2017, 10:52 | Kelvin Horton
The simmering debate over whether big internet companies are breaking antitrust rules to extend their dominance has a new front - Missouri.
Attorney General Josh Hawley said that the investigation will focus on three issues: the scope of Google's data collection, whether it has abused its market position as a dominant search engine and whether the company has unfairly used content produced by competitors, like Yelp, in its own search results.
Missouri's attorney general announced Monday that his office is investigating Google for potential violations of the state's consumer-protection and antitrust laws.
Hawley's office said Missouri's strong consumer-protection laws could help with a potential lawsuit over user data. Google has challenged the decision in Europe, citing competitors like Amazon and eBay and arguing that its process doesn't favor "ourselves, or any particular site or seller" but rather is "the result of hard work and constant innovation, based on user feedback".
Google's facing another investigation into its business practices.
The Kansas City Star has confirmed that the "major tech company" is Google. The attorneys general of Utah and the District raised a flag previous year, urging the Federal Trade Commission to reopen its investigation into Google's search practices, although the agency has not said it would do so. Hawley said the Federal Trade Commission under former President Barack Obama "did not take any enforcement action against Google, did not press this forward and has essentially given them a free pass". But as Google and other tech companies like Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc. continue to become more powerful, some US politicians and academics are posing questions more forcefully about whether antitrust laws should be changed or brought to bear in a new way against the tech giants. The European Union is also investigating Google over its Android mobile platform and its AdSense for Search service. Hawley, a Republican, is seeking to unseat Democrat incumbent Sen.
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