Google responds to Missouri investigation

Hawley begins investigation into Google in connection to the company's business practices

The Missouri attorney general's office is investigating whether Google has run afoul of consumer protection or antitrust laws in the state.

Hawley says he plans to examine several issues, including whether Google's privacy policy adequately discloses its data-mining practices. During a news conference today, Hawley says he wants to know if Google is breaking Missouri law by the way it's collecting, using, and releasing information about its users and their online activities.

Hawley, who recently announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, said that the investigation was prompted in part by the recent fine levied against Google by European antitrust regulators for favoring its own search results, and concerns that Google was engaging in similar behavior in the United States.

Also of interest to Hawley's investigation is the roughly 70 percent of all card transaction information that Google collects. And, whether or not Google uses the content of competitors without permission.

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

Mr. Hawley said the state's preliminary investigation found that Google may be collecting more information from users than the company is telling consumers and that users don't have a "meaningful option" to opt out of Google's data collection. The state has issued Google a subpoena seeking information about its business practices. In a statement, Hawley said he also hopes to glean whether the practice.

National regulators last probed Google in 2013, when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement with the internet company.

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