Attorney general joins 48 states in Google antitrust probe
Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford has announced he will join attorneys general across the country calling for an investigation of Google’s online advertising practices.
Ford said his primary reason for participating in the probe, led by Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and taken on by 48 states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, is to identify and act on the tech giant’s practices that violate state antitrust laws.
“One of my biggest priorities as attorney general is protecting Nevada’s consumers, and this investigation will uncover whether Google’s business practices are negatively affecting individuals and businesses,” Ford said in a statement Monday.
In the past, Google has been fined for abusing its dominant position in the market and manipulating search results. In March, the European Commission issued Google a third fine (of $1.5 billion dollars) for unfair advertising practices, such as barring companies that embedded a Google search bar on their site from also having agreements with rival search engines.
The company was previously fined for practices such as forcing phone manufacturers to pre-install Google’s Chrome search engine app in order to also carry the Google Play app on a phone.
The attorneys general probe of Google follows a recent trend of state officials taking on tech companies. And despite recent federal investigations aimed at checking the power of these companies, some critics have deemed these federal-level fines as insufficient and ineffective.
Ford and the attorneys general will conduct their own investigation of Google as the Department of Justice conducts a separate one.