Ohio sues Google, says tech giant should be regulated as a public utility
The state of Ohio filed a lawsuit against Google on Tuesday, saying the tech giant should be regulated as a public service because of its “discriminatory and anti-competitive” practices.
The civil action, filed by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost in Delaware County Common Plea Court, does not seek pecuniary damages, but instead asks Google to be declared a “carrier. public ”which could be overseen by a body such as the State Public. Public services commission.
“Google is using its dominance of Internet search to direct Ohioans to Google’s own products – it’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost said in a prepared statement.
“When you own the railroad, the power company, or the cell phone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everyone access. “
In the civil complaint, Yost expressed concern about Google’s ability to create “click-less 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’s services and links higher than they would be displayed due to Google’s internet search algorithms in which the algorithm is not programmed to prioritize products and services owed to Google, ”the lawsuit said.
A Google representative, based in Mountain View, Calif., Said the lawsuit would not be successful.
“Google search is designed to provide users with the most relevant and useful results,” according to a company statement.
“The AG Yost lawsuit would worsen Google search results and make it harder for small businesses to connect directly with customers. The people of Ohio just don’t want the government to run Google like a business. gas or electricity This lawsuit has no basis in fact or in law and we will defend ourselves against this in court.
MSNBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos said Ohio’s ultimate goal is not to put Google under the direct authority of a utilities commission, but to lay the groundwork for increased regulation. .
He cited services like cable TV, trash haulage, airlines, and casinos that are provided by private companies, but almost always have higher and superior rules and regulations than other companies.
“When a business serves such a large segment of the public that its tariffs, costs, and methods of operation become a public concern, it can be characterized as a public service,” and targeted for increased government oversight, Cevallos said.