Ohio AG Yost files lawsuit to declare Google a public utility

Ohio

DELAWARE, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit Tuesday asking the court to declare Google a public utility.

The lawsuit, filed in Delaware County Court, claims the following two causes of action against Google:

  • It seeks a legal declaration that Google is a common carrier (or public utility) subject to proper government regulation.
  • It says Google has a duty to offer sources or competitors rights equal to its own, meaning it should not prioritize the placement of its own products, services and websites on search results pages. Those equal rights should extend to advertisements, enhancements, knowledge boxes, integrated specialized searches, direct answers and other features.

“Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products–that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Yost said. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access.”

According to a release, this is the second anti-competition lawsuit Yost has filed against Google. In December he joined 37 other attorneys general in a federal lawsuit against Google for conduct that he said violates Section 2 of the Sherman Act.

The lawsuit claims that more competition in the general search engine market would benefit consumers and that competitive general search engines also could offer better quality advertising and lower prices to advertisers. 

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