Ohio Taking Google Search to Court Over What State Attorney General Says Is ‘Unfair Practice’

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Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced his team will be meeting Google Search in court in May of 2024. The Republican official is seeking to declare the search engine a common carrier in order to make them subject to state regulation.

Yost alleged in a press release about the case, “By manipulating search results to self-preference its own products, Google is tilting the playing field against consumers and against emerging competitors. It’s time to bring those unfair practices to an end.”

The lawsuit focuses on commerce issues, citing concerns about conflicts with anti-competition laws. Yost’s suit does not seek monetary damages.

The attorney general said his goal was to make Google a public utility when he announced that he was bringing the suit in 2021.

Yost argued Ohioans are harmed by Google because they cannot make the best choices if they don’t get all of the information.

“Google cannot use its dominance in search to squeeze out competitors of other services, like travel reservations, shopping, and consumer reviews,” Yost said in an update about the case.

According to John Whitehead, the president of The Rutherford Institute, if the Ohio attorney general wins his case, the decision would not apply to Google searches nationwide.

“The ruling, in this case, would only apply to people using Google in Ohio, and it does not appear that this case would subject Google to federal regulation,” Whitehead told The Epoch Times.

“If Google is made a common carrier under Ohio law, then people using Google in Ohio might presumably get different search results where Google does not prioritize placement of its products, services, and websites on search results pages.”

When asked if this case would likely be appealed, Whitehead said he believed it was “very likely that Google would appeal an adverse decision against it in order to be able to continue its normal operations.”

The attorney went on to explain potential delays saying, “If Google appeals an adverse ruling, the trial court’s ruling probably wouldn’t take effect while the appeal is pending.”

By Savannah Pointer

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