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Google responds to Missouri investigation

Google responds to Missouri investigation

Federal regulators in the USA also have investigated the company over antitrust claims, but Google settled with the Federal Trade Commission in 2013 without making any major concessions on how the company runs its internet search engine.

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

With the investigation, the state's top lawyer will examine Google's collection, use and disclosure of personal information; its "alleged misappropriation of online content from the websites of its competitors;" and its manipulation of search results to preference "websites owned by Google" and to "demote" websites that compete with Google, according to a statement.

If Google doesn't respond to his office's subpoena, Hawley said he is willing to take the company to court.

"When a company has access to as much consumer information as Google does, it's my duty to ensure they are using it appropriately", said Hawley, a Republican who is mounting a campaign for U.S. Senate. He says "substantial evidence" suggests the company might manipulate search results to list Google-affiliated websites higher in search results.

"We have not yet received the subpoena, however, we have strong privacy protections in place for our users and continue to operate in a highly competitive and dynamic environment".

"The bottom line is Missouri is not going to give Google a free pass", Hawley said.

Hawley said if the allegations are true, Moore should "absolutely step aside".

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