U.S. state launches probe of Google´s business practices

The Missouri attorney general's office is investigating whether Google has run afoul of consumer protection or antitrust laws in the state. Hawley said that his preliminary investigation suggests that Google may not be accurately disclosing how much data it collects about customers and that people don't have a meaningful choice to opt out of Google's data collection.

"It is a very strong concern that we have potentially in Google a company that is gathering all sorts of personal confidential information and then using that personal confidential information for profit", says Hawley. According to a news release, he also wants to know if Google is manipulating its search algorithm to "preference websites owned by Google and to demote websites that compete with Google." .

The probe comes after European regulators investigated significant aspects of Google's business and as Washington is taking a harder look into the influence of dominant tech companies in American society.

Google, which has challenged the European regulators' fine, didn't immediately comment.

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

"The bottom line is Missouri is not going to give Google a free pass", Hawley said.

Google was facing a broad investigation into its business practices Monday, with American officials planning to examine how the internet giant handles user data and offers up search results. 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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