Missouri's attorney general, Josh Hawley, has issued a subpoena to Google as part of an investigation into whether the company broke state consumer protection and antitrust laws. Google agreed to change some business practices the FTC said were stifling competition in certain markets.
Google spokesman Patrick Lenihan in a Monday statement said the company has "strong privacy protections in place" and operates in a "highly competitive" environment. A Federal Trade Commission inquiry also prompted Google that year to agree to provide advertisers and patent licensees more flexible terms.
Asked at the press conference whether his senate candidacy played a role in opening the Google inquiry, Hawley said he acted upon his oath of office and desire "to get to the truth". In 2013, Attorney Generals from 37 U.S. states collectively fined Google $7 million. 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. It's also looking into allegations that the company manipulates search results to favor its own websites over competitors', which has been the subject of recent scrutiny in Europe.
In addition to online users' location, device information, cookie data, online queries, and website history, Hawley said it is estimated that Google has access to 70% of all card transactions in the United States.
At a time when tech monopolies are coming into question, Hawley said it's his duty to protect people from a company that has so much information. "My Office will not stand by and let private consumer information be jeopardized by industry giants, especially to pad their profits".