Ohio’s attorney general, Dave Yost, filed a lawsuit Tuesday to pursue a new attempt to get Google to declare it a public utility and subject to government regulation.
The lawsuit, filed in a Delaware County, Ohio court, seeks to use more than a century-old law to regulate Google by applying a legal designation once used to railroads, electricity and phone for search engine.
“When you own a railroad, an electric company, or a cell phone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everyone access,” said Mr. An announcement. He added that Ohio was the first state to bring such a lawsuit against Google.
If Google were to be declared a regular service provider as a utility company, it would prevent the company from prioritizing its own products, services, and websites in search results.
Google says it has none of the attributes of a regular service provider that typically provides a standardized service for a fee that uses public assets, such as privileges.
“The lawsuit will make Google Search results worse and make it harder for small businesses to connect directly with customers,” said José Castañeda, a Google spokesman. “The people of Ohio simply don’t want the government to run Google like a gas or electricity company. This lawsuit has no basis in fact or law and we will defend ourselves in court. “
Andrew Schwartzman, a senior fellow at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Social Non-Profits, said the Ohio case, despite its many twists and turns, has a long history of government control. government for certain types of companies. “Think of ‘The Canterbury Tales.’ Travelers need a place to stay and eat on long road trips, and innkeepers are not allowed to deny their accommodations or tear them down,” he said.
After a series of federal lawsuits against Google last year, Ohio’s lawsuit is part of a further wave of state action aimed at regulating and curtailing Big Tech’s power. Also on Tuesday, Colorado’s legislature passed a data privacy law that allows consumers to opt out of data collection.
On Monday, the New York Senate passed antitrust legislation that makes it easier for plaintiffs to sue dominant platforms for abuse of power. After years of inaction in Congress on technology legislation, states are beginning to fill the legal void.
Ohio is also one of 38 states that filed an antitrust lawsuit in December, accusing Google of being a monopoly and using its dominant position in internet search to squeeze smaller rivals. .