NBC News

June 11, 2021: The US state of Ohio filed suit against Google on June 8, claiming the tech giant should be regulated as a public utility due to its “discriminatory and anti-competitive” practices.

The civil action, filed by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost in Delaware County Common Pleas Court, does not seek monetary damages, but instead asks for Google to be declared a “common carrier” that could come under oversight from a body such as the state’s Public Utilities Commission.

“Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products — that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost said in a prepared statement.

“When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access.”

In the civil complaint, Yost said he’s concerned about Google’s ability to create “no click searches,” which means a query that directs users “to other Google platforms, such as YouTube, Google Flights, Google Maps, Google News, Google Shopping and Google Travel.”

Google “has a duty not to artificially prioritize Google services and links higher than they would be displayed as a result of Google’s internet searches algorithms in which the algorithm is not programmed to prioritize Google’s owed products and services,” the suit said.

A representative for Mountain View, California-based Google said the lawsuit will not succeed.

“Google Search is designed to provide people with the most relevant and helpful results,” according to a company statement.

“AG Yost’s lawsuit would make Google Search results worse and make it harder for small businesses to connect directly with customers. Ohioans simply don’t want the government to run Google like a gas or electric company. This lawsuit has no basis in fact or law and we’ll defend ourselves against it in court.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ohio-sues-google-claims-tech-giant-should-be-regulated-public-n1269986

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