Missouri attorney general launches an anti-trust investigation against Google

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Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley launches an antitrust investigation into Google (GOOGL, GOOG), accusing the company of violating the state's consumer protection laws. According to a news release, he also wants to know if Google is manipulating its search algorithm to "preference websites owned by Google and to demote websites that compete with Google." .

"This is not a "Dear Google" letter", he said.

Hawley said it's important to find out how Google handles sensitive information - especially after large companies like Equifax recently suffered massive data breaches.

Attorney generals of 37 states reached a $7 million settlement in 2013 over Google's unauthorized collection of Wi-Fi data through its Street View digital-mapping cars.

Google agreed to change some business practices the FTC said were stifling competition in certain markets.

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"There is strong reason to believe that Google has not been acting with the best interest of Missourians in mind", said Hawley, a Republican running for a US Senate seat in 2018.

In June, the European Union issued Google a record $2.7 billion antitrust fine.

He says most people don't realize that Google builds individual user profiles of those who use the company's services.

"However, we have strong privacy protections in place for our users and continue to operate in a highly competitive and dynamic environment", spokesperson Andrea Faville said in a statement. One month later, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding a Google program that tracks consumer behavior.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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