Missouri starts investigating Google's business practices

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His office is investigating to determine if Google has violated the state's main consumer protection law.

Hawley's investigation also aims to learn if the company is breaking the law by leveraging what he calls Google's "near-monopoly" power in the search engine market to stifle competition.

Hawley's office is checking into what Google does with the user information it collects and allegations that it inappropriately scrapes information from competitors' websites.

"It is a very strong concern that we have potentially in Google a company that is gathering all sorts of personal confidential information and then using that personal confidential information for profit", says Hawley. The state has issued Google a subpoena seeking information about its business practices. Google has said it provides consumers with the option to control their privacy settings and does not provide third parties with personally identifiable information like names, email addresses and billing information.

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The European Union in June issued a $2.7 billion (2.4 billion euro) antitrust fine, which Google has appealed, for unfairly highlighting its own shopping service in search results.

Hawley on Monday said he also agrees with sentiments from the White House, saying Moore has a right to defend himself against the claims reported by the Washington Post.

In a statement, Google says it has not received the Missouri subpoena adding, "We have strong protections for our users". The attorneys general of Utah and the District raised a flag previous year, urging the Federal Trade Commission to reopen its investigation into Google's search practices, although the agency has not said it would do so.

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