American News Jun 8, 2021 11:03 PM EST

Ohio Attorney General files lawsuit against Google to declare tech giant a public utility

On Tuesday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a "landmark lawsuit" that asks courts to declare big tech company Google a public utility in an effort to protect Ohioans.

Ohio Attorney General files lawsuit against Google to declare tech giant a public utility
Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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On Tuesday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a "landmark lawsuit" that asks courts to declare big tech company Google a public utility in an effort to protect Ohioans.

"Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products--that's discriminatory and anti-competitive," Yost said in a press release. "When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access."

The lawsuit, which was filed in Delaware County Court, pushed for two actions against Google.

"It seeks a legal declaration that Google is a common carrier (or public utility) subject to proper government regulation," states the press release. "It says Google has a duty to offer sources or competitors rights equal to its own, meaning it should not prioritize the placement of its own products, services and websites on search results pages. Those equal rights should extend to advertisements, enhancements, knowledge boxes, integrated specialized searches, direct answers and other features."

The lawsuit does not seek monetary compensation.

According to the press release, "In plain terms, Yost argues Ohioans are harmed by Google because they cannot make the best choices if they don’t get all of the information. For example, if someone searches for a flight and Google returns its own presentation of search results to steer the person to Google Flights, the person doesn’t see offers from competitors such as Orbitz and Travelocity."

This marks the second anti-competition lawsuit filed by Yost against Google. Yost joined 37 other attorney generals back in December in a federal lawsuit against Google for conduct that violates Section 2 of the Sherman Act.

"The Sherman Act is a federal law meant to curtail groups of businesses that collude to form a monopoly in an effort to reduce economic competition," states the press release. "That lawsuit alleges that more competition in the general search engine market would benefit consumers, for example, through improved privacy protections and more targeted results and opportunities for consumers."

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