Prosecutors of 48 US states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have opened a monopoly investigation to Google that focuses on Alphabet, the subsidiary dedicated to the commercialization of Internet advertising.
“When there is no longer a free market competition, prices rise even if something is sold as free and that hurts consumers,” said Florida attorney general Ashley Moody, according to the US press.
“Is it something really free if there are more and more doubts about our privacy? Is it something really free if the prices of online advertising go up due to the control of a single company?” He asked.
The attorney general of the District of Columbia, Karl Racine, has not ruled out a possible coordination between the macro-investigation against Google and the one already opened against Facebook and led by the New York attorney general, Letitia James. “It will be seen” if there is “a coordinated expansion,” Racine said at a press conference.
For the attorney general of Nebraska, Doug Peterson, the cooperation of the Department of Justice and international actors is essential. “It is very significant that the United Kingdom, France, Australia and the European Commission are investigating it. Everything indicates that it is an important issue,” he argued.
Until now, Facebook and Google have been fined for breaches of privacy regulations, but the amounts represent only a small percentage of their quarterly benefits. However, a monopoly investigation could threaten the businesses’ own business model, as it could force them to reveal part of Google’s search algorithm or could even force the separation of entire parts of the company, such as YouTube.