Internet giant Google is facing an investigation in its home country into the way it gains and uses data.
The Missouri Attorney General said Monday his office would investigate Google, owned by Alphabet, to find out if the company is violating any consumer protection or antitrust laws.
“There is strong reason to believe that Google has not been acting with the best interest of Missourians in mind,” Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said. “My Office will not stand by and let private consumer information be jeopardized by industry giants, especially to pad their profits.”
Google shares ended the US Monday trading session 0.28% lower, at $1,041.20.
Google confident in policies
While the investigation is only at the very beginning and Google has yet to receive the official subpoena sent from the Missouri Attorney General, the internet giant has stated its confidence in its own privacy policies.
“We have strong privacy protections in place for our users and continue to operate in a highly competitive and dynamic environment,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
This will be the first time since 2013, that Google has faced an investigation on home soil. In 2013, Attorney Generals from 37 US states collectively fined Google $7 million.
Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission began and then dropped an investigation into whether Google had manipulated search results.
EU fine raises questions
Hawley also mentioned the recent, record $2.7 billion antitrust fine issued to Google by the European Union. The EU accused Google of favouring its own business by blocking competitor search results.
In September, Google launched an appeal against the fine.
Hawley’s investigation announcement added that Google has access to an estimated 70% of all card transaction in the US. That’s on top of users’ location, device information, cookie data, online queries, and website history.
“When a company has access to as much consumer information as Google does, it’s my duty to ensure they are using it appropriately,” Hawley said. “I will not let Missouri consumers and businesses be exploited by industry giants.”