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Google faces antitrust investigation in Missouri (MSFT)

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Missouri AG subpoenas Google in antitrust investigation

Attorney General Josh Hawley of the state of Missouri issued an investigative subpoena to determine whether the company's actions violated state antitrust and consumer protection laws. In 2013, Google paid out $7 million to 37 states (and the District of Columbia) due to a "rogue engineer" acquiring personal information (passwords, emails and the like) collected over unsecured WiFi by its Street View cars. 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.

Hawley's probe intends to look at how Google collects information, and how and what they share about somebody's online activities.

He said the company will be held accountable and Missouri is not giving Google a free pass.

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

Internet giant Google is facing an investigation in its home country into the way it gains and uses data.

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.

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

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

The European Union in June issued a $2.7 billion (EUR 2.4 billion) antitrust fine, which Google has appealed, for unfairly highlighting its own shopping service in search results.

In a statement, Google says it has not received the Missouri subpoena adding, "We have strong protections for our users". One month later, 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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