Missouri Attorney General to investigate Google

Google is defending itself after Missouri's attorney general launched an investigation of the company for potential violations of the state's antitrust and consumer-protection laws.

Some business practices that are in question are Google's collection, use and disclosure of information about Google users and their online activities.

Google spokesman Patrick Lenihan in a Monday statement said the company has "strong privacy protections in place" and operates in a "highly competitive" environment. Google has challenged the decision in Europe, citing competitors like Amazon and eBay and arguing that its process doesn't favor "ourselves, or any particular site or seller" but rather is "the result of hard work and constant innovation, based on user feedback".

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley will hold a press conference Monday, November 13 at 10:30 a.m.to announce a new initiative aimed at a major tech company.

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Hawley - a Republican who is running for the GOP Senate nomination to challenge sitting Democratic Sen. A Federal Trade Commission inquiry also prompted Google that year to agree to provide advertisers and patent licensees more flexible terms.

Hawley said that to his knowledge, no other states have opened comparable investigations into Google.

He noted that Google entered into an agreement with the FTC in 2012 in which it promised not to engage in misappropriation of competitors' websites data. Yelp recently complained to the FTC that Google was continuing to scrape Yelp's content. He said the agency essentially gave Google a "free pass". "We should not just accept the word of these corporate giants that they have our best interests at heart".

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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