Ohio Lawsuit Asks the Court to Declare Google a Public Utility

According to Ohio AG Dave Yost, Google should be subject to ‘appropriate government regulation’.

(Photo by Alex Tai / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit Tuesday asking the court to declare Google a public utility legally similar to electricity or gas providers.

The civil action, filed in Delaware County Court, does not seek monetary compensation, but seeks to identify Google as a common carrier (or public utility) subject to “reasonable government regulation.” It also claims that Google should not prioritize the placement of its own products, services and websites on search results pages, and that equal rights extend to ads, enhancements, knowledge boxes, integrated specific searches, direct answers and other features. Should be

“Google uses its dominance of Internet search to lead Ohioans to Google’s own products – this is discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost said in a statement. “When you own a railroad or an electric company or a cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone equally and give everyone access.”

For example, if someone planning a COVID vacation, for example, looks for departures from one of eight airports in Ohio and sees only the top results from Google Flights, they might find competitors like Orbitz and Travelocity. is likely to miss the proposals, argued the AG.

Google did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment; A representative told NBC News that the trial would not be successful. “Google Search is designed to provide people with the most relevant and useful results,” the tech giant said. “AG Yoast’s lawsuit will tarnish Google search results and make it harder for small businesses to connect with customers directly,” it continued. “Ohio people just don’t want the government to run Google like a gas or electric company. This lawsuit has no basis in fact or law and we’ll defend ourselves against it in court.”

While Ohio is the first US state to bring such a lawsuit, it is not Yoast’s first anti-competitive rodeo. He was involved in a federal lawsuit earlier in December, along with 37 other attorney generals, in a federal lawsuit against Google for conduct that violated the Sherman Act to prevent businesses creating monopolies to reduce economic competition. was for.

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