Ohio is suing Google because they believe it should be treated as a public utility
The lawsuit was brought forth by the Ohio Attorney General.
Google has found itself in the middle of yet another lawsuit. This time, the Ohio Attorney General has filed a suit that claims that Google should be treated as a utility.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the lawsuit was filed earlier this week by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Yost is not interested in any monetary damages.
Instead, the suit claims that Google has a monopoly of sorts over what is displayed through its search results. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access,” says Yost.
According to the article, Google owns a whopping 91% of the market share in search engines. Yost claims that this has led to Google providing preferential treatment to its own products and services when people use its search engine.
For example, there are claims that the search engine is more likely to bring up clips from YouTube, which is owned by Google, instead of similar videos from other popular platforms.
Google has decided to fight back, claiming that the proposed changes to the laws would greatly hurt the business. A spokesperson for the company confirmed that it would be fighting this: “Ohioans simply 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.”
Many legal experts question the validity of the suit. One professor, Mark A. Jamison from the University of Florida said this about the suit, “I don’t know how it would be possible to come up with a way of regulating the company while protecting it from competition at the same time.”
The key to public utilities is that the companies in control are required to sell their products or services at a fair price. At the same time, government regulation protects those utilities from the competition. It is unclear to see how that regulation could be translated to Google.
For now, it is difficult to see how governments could regulate Google without severely hurting its ability to conduct business. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens, but Google is no stranger to going to court.
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