Missouri attorney general begins investigation into Google's business practices

The business practices of Google is being investigated by the Missouri attorney general's office. File

Missouri's attorney general has launched a broad investigation into whether Google is violating the state's consumer-protection and antitrust laws, a new front in the internet giant's regulatory battles.

The attorney general's office of Missouri has announced it's investigating whether Google broke the state's consumer protection and antitrust laws. Google's alleged transgression relates to the collection of information on users and how it used and disclosed. He expressed concern over the accuracy of the company's privacy policy, allegations it misappropriated content from rivals and claims it demoted competitors' websites in search results.

He said the company will be held accountable and Missouri is not giving Google a free pass. In 2013, Attorney Generals from 37 USA states collectively fined Google $7 million.

"It is a very strong concern that we have potentially in Google a company that is gathering all sorts of personal confidential information and then using that personal confidential information for profit", Hawley said. The EU accused Google of favouring its own business by blocking competitor search results.

Asked during the press conference whether his office's Google inquiry has anything to do with the election, Hawley 'said he acted upon his oath of office and desire "to get to the truth"'. He said most people don't realize that Google builds individual user profiles of those who use the company's services. As a result, Google was hit with a record $2.7 billion fine in June, nearly doubling the previous $1.45 billion record fine the European Union imposed in 2009 on Intel, which was also charged with engaging in anticompetitive practices. In July, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding a Google program that tracks consumer behavior.

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