Missouri attorney general launches an anti-trust investigation against Google

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Google is digging into the dark corners of the web to better secure people's accounts

Attorney General Josh Hawley of the state of Missouri issued an investigative subpoena to determine whether the company´s actions violated state antitrust and consumer protection laws. 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.

Attorney generals of 37 states reached a $7 million settlement in 2013 over Google's unauthorized collection of Wi-Fi data through its Street View digital-mapping cars.

Hawley, a Republican, is also questioning Google's alleged practice of "scraping" of online content from competing websites.

Google agreed to change some business practices the FTC said were stifling competition in certain markets. He says "substantial evidence" suggests the company might manipulate search results to list Google-affiliated websites higher in search results.

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He pointed to the European Union fining Google $2.7 billion in June for unfairly favoring links to its own shopping service over those from other e-commerce websites.

"There is strong reason to believe that Google has not been acting with the best interest of Missourians in mind", Hawley said in a statement.

Hawley, who's running for U.S. Senate next year, is launching the investigation at a time when America's largest tech companies are facing considerable scrutiny from both parties for their position in both America's corporate and civic spheres. In July, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding a Google program that tracks consumer behavior.

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