Missouri Attorney General to investigate Google

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Federal regulators in the US also have investigated the company over antitrust claims, but Google settled with the Federal Trade Commission in 2013 without making any major concessions on how the company runs its internet search engine.

Hawley says he plans to examine several issues, including whether Google's privacy policy adequately discloses its data-mining practices. He is also looking into whether Google scrapes information without permission from competitors like Yelp to use for its own search results.

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In Europe, where antitrust law has been wielded much more aggressively, Google was fined 2.4 billion euros ($2.8 billion) last June for giving its own shopping products more prominent placement in its search results than those of competitors.

Hawley said it is estimated that Google has access to 70 percent of all card transactions in the United States.

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Missouri's attorney general has launched a broad investigation into whether Google is violating the state's consumer-protection and antitrust laws, a new front in the internet giant's regulatory battles. Hawley, a Republican, is seeking to unseat Democrat incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill in 2018 - slammed the Obama-era Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for being too easy on Google.

Hawley noted that the FTC had chosen not to take enforcement action against Google after a 2012 investigation of its search practices. In Congress, however, the search giant and other dominant tech companies have come under increased criticism in recent months over a range of issues, from their failure to prevent Russian operatives from manipulating their platforms during the 2016 election to their sprawling size and industry-swallowing operations.

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Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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