SAN FRANCISCO — Missouri’s attorney general has opened an investigation into whether Google’s business practices violate its consumer protection and antitrust laws amid growing concern over the influence of powerful technology companies.
Josh Hawley, Missouri’s attorney general, said on Monday that his office had issued a subpoena to Google to seek information into the collection and use of users’ private information, the use of other content providers’ information on its sites and potential bias in search engine results.
Missouri’s investigation demonstrates how states and Europe have begun to take the lead on examining Google, which has avoided antitrust scrutiny from federal regulators. In June, the European Commission levied the largest-ever antitrust fine against the company for unfairly favoring its own shopping services over others.
Mr. Hawley, a Republican who is running for Senate in 2018, said that the Federal Trade Commission had given Google a “free pass” and that it was critical for consumers to understand what was happening with their personal information.
“No entity in the history of the world has collected as much information on individual consumers as Google,” he said in a news conference. “We should not just accept the word of these corporate giants that they have our best interests at heart. We need to make sure that they are actually following the law, we need to make sure that consumers are protected, and we need to hold them accountable.”