While the lawsuit is yet to be confirmed, government officials have told the media that the Justice Department is planning to challenge Google’s monopolistic practices.
The federal government is purportedly readying another antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc., the parent company of search behemoth Google.
Bloomberg.com reports that the Justice Department has recently “accelerated” an investigation of Google’s digital marketing practices.
The investigation, says The New York Times, focuses on Google’s wide-reaching market power. While the agency has publicly refused to comment on its investigation, sources familiar with the inquiry told the Times the Justice Department has begun calling more third-party witnesses.
The government has also been filing mass document requests and asking for interviews.
The Justice Department is expected to file an antitrust lawsuit as early as this year.
However, the agency did not respond to the Times’ request for comment.
In the meanwhile, Google has consistently maintained that it engages in fair market practices. Google has, for instance, said that it does not retain its market position by buying out competition—rather, Google insists that its market dominance is due to its products’ value.
If the Justice Department files another lawsuit before the year’s end, it will mark the second time the federal government has sued Google in the past 12 months—the agency filed another complaint in October 2020, alleging that Google has abused its “monopoly on internet search” to displace potential rivals.
While Google denies wrongdoing, the New York Times observes that dozens of media houses, advertisers, and technology companies have accused Google of engaging in anti-competitive practices.
Google, says the Times, “operates various parts of digital advertising auctions, including the purchase of ads for marketers and the selling of ad space by publishers.”
Earlier this year, the Justice Department began looking into allegations that Google and Facebook conspired to manipulate such online auctions.
While Texas has already filed an anti-trust lawsuit suggesting that Google “abuses” its competition, it remains to be seen whether the Justice Department will file its own complaint or join Texas and other state governments in existing litigation.
Google, as LegalReader.com has reported before, is facing numerous lawsuits. While the federal government and some states are accusing it of engaging in monopolistic behaviors, consumers claim that Google violates privacy law.
In mid-August, Google made changes to its private browsing mode—called “Incognito Mode”—better detailing what this feature does and does not do.
However, as 9to5google.com notes, Google’s updates to “Incognito Mode” do not actually explain what kind of data Google does and does not collect from persons browsing the internet in private mode.