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BigTech News: 50 states & territories launch antitrust probe into Google PLUS LinkedIn loses right to block data scraping

Added on the 10th Sep 2019 at 1:11 pm

It’s been a bad week in BigTech Land as Google faces a major US antitrust probe from 50 states & territories and LinkedIn loses an appeal to block startup hiQ Labs scraping and analysing data from its profiles.

Fifty attorney generals led by Texas AG Ken Paxton have launched an antitrust investigation into anticompetitive practices at Google, focusing on its search engine but more particularly its digital advertising business.

According to multiple news sources across the United States including the Washington Post, the attorney generals said at a press conference on Monday (9 September) that they are embarking on a wide-ranging review of a tech giant that both Democrats and Republicans allege may threaten competition, consumers and the continued growth of the web.

“They dominate the buyer side, the seller side, the auction side and the video side with YouTube,” Paxton is quoted as saying during a news conference alongside officials from 11 states and the District of Columbia.

In March Google was hit by an antitrust fine of €1.5bn by the European Union.

The US Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are also probing Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon for potential violations of antitrust law.

Meanwhile a federal appeals court has rejected LinkedIn’s appeal against San Francisco startup company hiQ Labs, which scrapes information from public profiles on the social media platform.

LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, has previously installed technical blocks to prevent hiQ accessing publicly available information – they were ordered to stop the block in 2017 but appealed.

“We’re disappointed in the court’s decision, and we are evaluating our options following this appeal,” a LinkedIn spokesperson told The Register.

Updated at 18.37 on 10 September to add ‘& territories’ to the heading.

One Comment

  1. Ben says:

    Just to clarify – the headline is not correct – not all 50 states are participating – only 48 are. As of at least earlier today, California and Alabama have not joined in.
    Also, the plural of “attorney general” is “attorneys general” – but that’s just me being pedantic.

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